President Cyril Ramaphosa has called for the “immediate and unconditional opening of humanitarian corridors” for civilians caught in the conflict currently gripping the Middle East.
In the early hours of Saturday morning, the militant wing of Hamas launched a surprise attack on Israel from Gaza.
Israel has since declared war with Hamas, unleashing a barrage of rockets on Gaza, considered one of the most densely populated areas in the world, with some two million people – almost half of them children – crammed into the 365-square-kilometre strip.
Gazans have been told to evacuate but with the only functioning exits now closed, they have nowhere to go.
Israel has also now implemented a complete blockade, cutting off electricity, water, food and fuel supplies to the strip.
The president’s spokesperson, Vincent Magwenya: “The president’s thoughts are with all the victims’ families and loved ones during this perilous period of fighting. The president remains gravely concerned at the devastating escalation in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the atrocities committed against civilian populations.”
The president has called for “the immediate cessation of violence and the exercise of restraint”.
“It is vital that all those who require urgent humanitarian assistance are provided with the basic life-supporting necessities and that human suffering is ameliorated.”