Pandor explains why SA refused to temporarily receive Afghan refugees

South Africa was asked to temporarily receive Afghan refugees who fled the country before they reach their final destination in Pakistan.

International Relations and Cooperation Minister Naledi Pandor at a press briefing on 21 May 2020 in Pretoria on her department’s repatriation process of South Africans stranded abroad due to COVID-19 lockdowns. Picture: @DIRCO_ZA/Twitter.

JOHANNESBURG - International Relations Minister Naledi Pandor on Friday said the evacuation of US Army from Afghanistan as the Taliban took over was "exceptionally badly handled".

Pandor said the management of the process was concerning, which placed the country's security at risk.

"I believe that the process wasn't handled very well. I think there should have been a far smoother process of particularly the evacuation of persons as the United States had promised they would evacuate from that country. So I think the management was rather of concern.

She found the collapse of the Afghanistan government very surprising.

"The army couldn't hold out, so security was not able to be provided for the people of Afghanistan, so the whole situation really can be described as exceptionally badly managed."

On Thursday, as the BRICS countries met, Pandor said countries agreed that they would only recognise the Taliban being in power if democracy was restored and human rights were in place.

"We had a BRICS Summit yesterday in which our president spoke, and we've adopted a statement that is a BRICS statement, very clearly articulating the view that we want to see the restoration of democracy and enjoyment of fundamental human rights by the people of Afghanistan. Until we are assured that the government, once it's in place, intends to observe the prescripts of international law, we wouldn't proceed with any form of recognition."

South Africa was asked to temporarily receive Afghan refugees who fled the country before they reach their final destination in Pakistan.

But Pandor said there were a number of concerns and SA refused.

“We received a rather odd set of letters from South African based lawyers, asking that we receive two aeroplane loads of persons who had sought refuge in Pakistan, but would be transported to South Africa in order for United States authorities to vet them in South Africa, because some of them would be given the special immigration permit by the United States. Well firstly, we're not a vetting base, there is no international law requirement that they must proceed to a third country.”

LISTEN: Minister Pandor on SA being on UK's red list and Afghan situation

Download the Eyewitness News app to your iOS or Android device.