The Department of International Relations and Cooperation (DIRCO) says 16 South Africans, who were stranded in Dubai and Doha, have been repatriated back to South Africa.
The repatriates arrived back on South African soil on Thursday and are currently under quarantine as required by regulations.
Their repatriation follows President Cyril Ramaphosa’s relaxation of restrictions to allow South Africans stranded abroad to return back to the country.
Another group of approximately 16 South Africans that were stranded in Frankfurt, Germany, are expected to return home over the weekend.
In the video below, German nationals to leave South Africa on Friday night:
DIRCO says it will be bringing in more South Africans stuck abroad using chartered flights.
“To date, our Missions and the Command Centre in Pretoria have registered a total of 2 313 South Africans stranded abroad due to the outbreak of the COVID 19 virus, which led to many countries closing their borders. Of these, 726 are students, 600 people are workers, 492 are tourists, and 495 haven’t disclosed,” the department said in a statement.
In line with Minister Naledi Pandor’s instructions, the DIRCO says it is prioritising those who are stuck at the airports, the students who have been asked to vacate their residences, the elderly and the sick.
“The Department wishes to assure all the South African Citizens stranded abroad that it empathises with their plight and is doing whatever it can to assist them to be safe, as comfortable as possible and to travel back to South Africa.”
France to repatriate its citizens
The French embassy in South Africa has confirmed that 250 of its citizens will be repatriated next week.
The French citizens will be allowed to travel back home after being stranded due the lockdown both in their country and in South Africa.
The French embassy says flights are being organised through a partnership of the local authorities and the Dutch government.
The Frenchman will fall part of the Dutch repatriation efforts.
On Friday night, about 500 Europeans were scheduled to leave on two flights from Johannesburg and Cape Town on charter flights organised by the German Embassy.