Following the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic and the declaration by President Cyril Ramaphosa of a State of Disaster, a total of 3 639 South Africans indicated that they were stranded and required assistance to return to South Africa. The overwhelming majority are stranded as a result of the lockdowns announced in many countries and the almost complete cessation of flights.
Repatriations so far
– On 8 April 2020, 66 South Africans were repatriated from Brazil on a South African Airways (SAA) flight.
– Also on 8 April 2020, a group of 67 South Africans were repatriated from Frankfurt, Germany. They included 39 from Germany, 14 from Portugal, 10 from Ireland, three from Nepal and one from Italy.
– On 10 April 2020, four South Africans arrived from Afghanistan with a private charter.
– Also on 10 April 2020, 49 South Africans landed in Cape Town from Namibia with a private charter.
– On 11 April 2020, a group of 41 South Africans left the Maldives with a private charter.
– On 12 April 2020, a SAA flight from Brussels to Johannesburg, with a stop-over in Lagos, repatriated 119 South Africans.
– Also on 12 April 2020, another SAA flight from London to Cape Town repatriated 201 South Africans.
– On 13 April 2020, a SAA flight from Ghana to Johannesburg repatriated 62 South Africans.
– On 15 April 2020, a SAA flight chartered by Workaways International in the United States of America repatriated 305 South African workers.
– On 16 April 2020, an Ethiopian Airlines cargo flight from Addis Ababa repatriated 13 South Africans.
– On 17 April 2020, a SAA-chartered flight arrived in Johannesburg from Luanda, Angola, transporting 84 South Africans.
– On 18 April 2020, 80 South Africans arrived in Johannesburg from Rome.
– On 19 April 2020, 206 South Africans arrived in Johannesburg from Frankfurt.
– Also on 19 April 2020, 35 South Africans arrived in Johannesburg from Angola.
Challenges in Peru, Indonesia and Pakistan
“We are aware of the 34 South Africans stranded in Lima, Peru. Through our Ambassador in Peru, we are in regular contact with the group and all efforts are being made to try to get them back home.
“A further 307 citizens are stranded in Thailand as well as about 140 in Bali, Indonesia. Through our missions in these countries, we are trying to find solutions to bring them home.
“The private charter collecting stranded South Africans from Pakistan will depart South Africa as soon as the Pakistani Government grants approval for the flight to land and board the passengers. The High Commission in Islamabad is in continuous contact with the Foreign Ministry to facilitate the approval processes.” – Minister of International Relations and Cooperation Naledi Pandor
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