No plans – yet – to help South Africans stuck abroad get home during the coronavirus crisis

Business Insider SA
Travel bans
(Constantine Johnny, Getty)
  • Despite a ban on travellers from some countries, South African citizens are still allowed back into the country – in theory.
  • Flight cancellations mean South Africans in various parts of the world are effectively stuck, they say.
  • Some are running out of money, others are worried about legal trouble if they overstay visas.
  • The SA government is in touch with authorities elsewhere, Dirco says, but there are no plans yet for special repatriation efforts.
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South Africans stuck on the wrong side of flight cancellations – amid a massive decline in air traffic due to the Covid-19 outbreak and related travel bans – are on their own for the time being.

So far no decision has been taken to repatriate South African citizens from other parts of the world, a spokesperson for the department of international relations and cooperation (Dirco) told Business Insider South Africa on Sunday.

Via missions abroad, the government is "interacting with authorities of the countries" where citizens are stuck, though, and information is being fed to SA's National Command Council, which is expected to announce new measures around the novel coronavirus after a meeting on Sunday.

A special flight was arranged to evacuated South African citizens from Wuhan, China, during the lockdown in that city. No similar measures have been taken as lockdowns have spread across other cities and territories.

At last a handful of South Africans are stuck on cruise ships and in similar predicaments.

But several citizens in various countries told Business Insider their primary problem was a lack of flights, either direct or indirect, that could get them home.

Some said they were running out of money, others worried about the legal consequences of overstaying visas.

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