CAPE TOWN- The South African government has failed to show support towards Ukrainians seeking refuge from the war-torn nation.
Several European countries, as well as the Irish and Brazilian governments, have done away with visa applications for those fleeing Ukraine.
However, South Africa has not followed suit and has also not joined global leaders in explicitly condemning Russia’s actions.
Dr Natalia Novikova, a Ukrainian who has lived and worked in South Africa for the past 10 years, has been desperately trying to relocate her family, only to be told that they need to jump impossible hurdles to enter South Africa.
“As our families are escaping bombs and shootings, some of us including me, would like to bring our family members to South Africa, at least temporarily, until the situation settles. So, the South African embassies in other countries have advised Ukrainian citizens that they have to go to Ukraine to apply for those visas.”
The embassy in Ukraine is in the middle of the conflict in Kyiv and has therefore not been operational since the war broke out.
Novikova fears the worst for her family if they cannot get to safety.
“My cousins' passports are inside the embassy, they applied for visas before the war started. My mom is in Switzerland, we have tried to get her here but it's also impossible because her obligation was in the Ukraine. It's very sad to see that South Africa is supporting the side that is invading another country with 44 million people and the largest country in Europe."