CAPE TOWN - South Africans in China are frustrated with Minister of International Relations and Cooperation Naledi Pandor’s answer as to when they'll be able to return to their home country.
Pandor has been addressing the country on the repatriation process.
The minister says her officials have spent sleepless nights ensuring the safe return of more than 5,000 South Africans from abroad so far.
More than 200 South Africans near Wuhan in China have been waiting for weeks for a flight home and Pandor did not reassure them.
“If those citizens in China have approached us and their names are with us we then will discuss with China as to how we will get them back to South Africa,” Pandor said.
She says the repatriation process was started to help South Africans who were in dire need.
“We brought people back and repatriated on the basis that they said I am ordinarily resident in South Africa I wish to return home it is the lockdown that has prevented me from returning,” Pandor said.
But with time her department also received requests from citizens who have lost their jobs due to lockdown restrictions or who ran out of funds to survive abroad.
Pandor says a list of planned repatriation flights is available for those in Europe, South America, New Zealand and the Middle East.
There were also 2,000 South Africans, who got stuck in South Africa because of the lockdown but are employed overseas.
They needed to honour contracts or to be reunited with their families but many of them have since returned to their countries of employment.
Pandor added that the repatriations have cost her department under ten million rand thanks to a donation of jet fuel.
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