The South African government says the on-going instability in Egypt may necessitate precautionary measures to be taken by South African citizens living in or travelling to Egypt for their personal safety and well being.
“The South African Embassy in Egypt remains open and is available at all times to assist South African citizens should circumstances require,” said International Relations and Cooperation Department spokesperson, Clayson Monyela, on Wednesday evening.
Monyela strongly advised all South African citizens to register online on the Registration of South Africans Abroad (ROSA) in order for the government to be able to contact them or their relatives in case of emergency.
South Africa’s caution comes as Egypt’s armed forces on Wednesday ousted embattled President Mohamed Morsi and let the head of the Supreme Constitutional Court run the country for a transitional period.
They also arrested Mohamed Saad al-Katatni, leader of the Muslim Brotherhood-backed Freedom and Justice Party (FJP) and Rashad al-Bayoumi, a top leader of the Muslim Brotherhood, and prepared to issue arrest warrants for other 300 Brotherhood members.
Defence Minister Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi said the army’s roadmap for the future of Egypt includes suspending the current constitution, forming a commission to prepare constitutional amendments and establishing a national government with broadened powers.
The army also called for the formation of a national consensus commission that groups public figures representing all movements and parties.
Al-Sisi reiterated that the armed forces will always be out of politics, calling on all Egyptians to abstain from violence and resort to peacefulness.
Morsi, who won presidential elections in June 2012 as a candidate of the FJP, said he was still the legitimate president of Egypt.
“There is no alternative to legitimacy, the constitution or the law,” said Morsi in a pre-recorded statement broadcast by the pan-Arab news channel Al Jazeera on Wednesday evening.
On the streets, anti-Morsi protesters cheered and set off fireworks upon hearing the president’s ouster.
Hundreds of thousands of people flooded Cairo’s iconic Tahrir Square and the vicinity of the presidential palace, cheering and waving flags. They drove around the capital and honked in celebration.
Morsi’s supporters have been holding sit-ins to reject the military roadmap, saying Morsi is the legitimate president of Egypt.
More than 10 people were killed and hundreds of others injured in clashes in between opponents and supporters of Morsi last night.
Several Muslim Brotherhood headquarters across the country were set ablaze, and a police station was ransacked by Morsi’s supporters armed with explosives.
Monyela said the South African government encourages all parties to resolve their differences in a peaceful and democratic spirit.
“The stability and peace in Egypt remains vital for the progress of democracy in the region and the ultimate wellbeing of all the Egyptians,” said Moneyla.