By Raphael Ahren
According to South Africa’s 1998 Regulation of Foreign Military Assistance Act, citizens are not allowed to "engage in mercenary activity" or "render any foreign military assistance to any state" unless special authorization was granted. Yet several local community members interviewed for this article said South Africans who served in the IDF need not worry because this law does not apply to them.
"The law applies specifically to mercenaries but not to people who were inducted into the Israeli army according to Israeli law," presumed a prominent member of the community, who asked to remain unnamed. "It’s my understanding that this law contains a paragraph saying that it doesn’t apply if you’re a citizen of that [foreign] country," a 24-year-old former IDF combat soldier from Port Elizabeth said.
Attorney Mervyn Smith, the former president of the South African Jewish Board, told Anglo File he has "never heard of that exception." However, a close reading of the legislation by Anglo File revealed the following clause: "Any court of law in the Republic may try a person for [contravening the law] notwithstanding the fact that the act… was committed outside the Republic, except in the instance where a foreign citizen [contravenes the law] wholly outside the borders of the Republic."
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