Durban – Over 200 South African students studying at various Turkish universities who were facing eviction have been spared after diplomatic interventions.
The announcement was made by ANC secretary-general Ace Magashule late on Saturday.
While attempts to get clarity on how the students ended up in Turkey and why they were to be evicted were not successful, it is believed the students are from across SA and they were not on government scholarships.
First to raise the predicament of the students was Siyambonga Dimema. Dimema lives and studies in Besiktas, one of the cities in the Turkish province of Istanbul. After unsuccessfully trying to draw the attention of the South African authorities about their plight, she took to Twitter to ask fellow South Africans to amplify their save our souls call.
The gamble paid off as it appears the Turkish ambassador to South Africa intervened and they were spared.
Confirming the intervention, Magashule wrote on Facebook that the students must fear not as their matter has been resolved.
“Siyambonga Dimema (@hamidahdimema) had posted on Social Media that they were facing an eviction from a Turkish University. Sorry to hear about that experience. I am pleased to hear that the Turkish Ambassador in South Africa has intervened and the matter is resolved. When facing any challenges outside the country, DIRCO and the SA Embassy should always be the first point of call. Wishing the students who are abroad, safety during this time of Covid-19 pandemic, and all the best in their studies,” Magashule wrote.
Dimema shared a similar message on her Twitter page on Saturday, saying the matter has been resolved.
“Thank you so much to everyone who has retweeted, tagged and sent messages to the relevant authorities. The Turkish Ambassador in South Africa, Elif Ülgem, has contacted me and confirmed that we will not be evicted. Thank you,” she wrote.
She later confirmed to Independent Media on Sunday that the matter has been resolved.
By Sihle Mavuso