Pretoria - The removal of Egypt's democratically-elected president breaches the African Union's laws, Deputy International Relations Minister Ebrahim Ebrahim said on Tuesday.
"The South African government views this as a serious breach of the African Union Constitutive Act and other relevant instruments, including the African Charter on Democracy... and the Lome Declaration," Ebrahim said in Pretoria.
Armed forces overthrew Mohammed Morsi last week, declaring he had failed the Egyptian people. Morsi was toppled just a year after he became Egypt's first freely elected president.
Ebrahim told reporters South Africa welcomed and endorsed resolutions of the 384th meeting of the African Union Peace and Security Council, held on 5 July to discuss Egypt.
The meeting decided to suspend Egypt's participation in AU activities until the restoration of constitutional order.
"Furthermore, the South African government considers this event as a major setback for the advancement and consolidation of democracy in Africa," Ebrahim said.
South Africa was perturbed by the potential negative impact the event could have on peace, stability, and security in the region, he said.
"In this respect, South Africa wishes to strongly condemn the shameful acts of violence that took place in Cairo on 8 July that left more than 50 people dead and over 400 wounded."
Government called on all parties to engage in "inclusive political dialogue" in order to return to a constitutional order as quickly as possible through holding free, fair and all-inclusive elections.
Ebrahim said all non-essential personnel and families attached to the South African embassy in Cairo remained temporarily withdrawn until the situation allowed for their return.
The South African embassy in Egypt remained open and was available to help South African citizens.
Ebrahim said South Africa would participate in the 15th ministerial committee of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) on politics, defence and security co-operation in Tanzania on 13 July.
South Africa would also be part of the SADC electoral observer mission in Zimbabwe. A total of 120 South African observers would be present.
The AU and SADC would also bring their own observers during the elections.
Ebrahim said after the failure to delay Zimbabwean elections by 14 days in that country’s Constitutional Court, 31 July remained the day the elections would take place.
"The reality now is that elections will have to take place on 31 July. All the [political] parties will have to make use of the date and see how best they could campaign to see that the election is free and fair, without any violence and intimidation," he said.
The elections should reflect the will of the Zimbabwean people, Ebrahim said.
"We hope the number of observers there will also make some difference to the electoral process."
Ebrahim said South Africa would host the sixth South Africa-EU Summit on 18 July. The summit is aimed at enhancing co-operation between the two.