18 December 2023
South African nationals to avoid joining foreign armed forces which may contribute to the violation of domestic and international law
The South African Government is gravely concerned by reports that some South African citizens and permanent residents have joined or are considering joining the Israeli Defence Forces (IDF) in the war in Gaza and in the other Occupied Palestinian Territories.
Such action can potentially contribute to the violation of international law and the commission of further international crimes, thus making them liable for prosecution in South Africa.
In terms of the Regulation of the Foreign Military Assistance Act, 1998 (Act No. 15 of 1998), any person wishing to render foreign military assistance in Israel must first apply to the National Conventional Arms Control Committee (NCACC) who will make a recommendation to the Minister of Defence and Military Veterans that such an application be granted or refused.
Any person joining the IDF without the necessary permission of the NCACC is breaking the law and can be prosecuted.
In addition, the South African Citizenship Act, 1995 (Act No. 88 of 1995) provides that any person who obtained South African citizenship by naturalisation in terms of that Act shall cease to be a South African citizen if he or she engages under the flag of another country in a war that the Republic does not support or agree with.
It is in this context, that South African citizens should be made aware of the consequences of joining the IDF or any foreign armed forces involved in conflicts with a view to preventing inadvertent complicity in international crimes or violations of domestic law.
ISSUED BY THE DEPARTMENT OF INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS AND COOPERATION
OR Tambo Building
460 Soutpansberg Road