Calvin Jacobs, who is in Ghana, said that he and other South Africans had exhausted all avenues to try to get flights back to the country.
Picture: Facebook
Calvin Jacobs, who is in Ghana, said that he and other South Africans had exhausted all avenues to try to get flights back to the country. Picture: Facebook

South Africans trapped in other African countries beg to be brought home

By Sakhiseni Nxumalo and Jacques van der Westhuyzen Time of article published Mar 27, 2020

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Durban - Hundreds of South Africans who are stuck in other African countries are appealing for the government to help them come back home.

Durban man Calvin Jacobs, who is in Ghana, said that he and other South Africans had exhausted all avenues to try to get flights back to the country.

Jacobs, a project manager, said he had been employed in Ghana for a year. 

He had a flight booked for March 21, but SAA cancelled its international flights last Friday.

“There are a lot of South African expats stuck here and they have to provide for themselves for the next three weeks, which will be hard because it’s very expensive to live here. All we want is to go back home to our families. We’re not sure what the situation will be like here in the upcoming weeks. We’re scared.”

Jacobs said they were worried about their safety and contracting the virus.

“Everyone is prepared to pay for their trip back home, all we need is for the South African government to provide us with a flight.”

200 South African oil and gas workers are also stranded in Luanda, Angola. 

One of the workers, who requested to remain anonymous, said the group consisted of workers who had completed their rotations or had their contracts cancelled due to the coronavirus outbreak.

“Guys are willing to pay double the rate just to get out and go home to their loved ones,” he said.

The man said there were talks of a lockdown in Angola as well. “We’re running out of time because rumour has it that Luanda might also shut down. If that’s the case, everybody would be stranded here in hotels,” he said.

He said the group had all signed expatriation forms for evacuation at the South African embassy on Tuesday.

The man said despite the situation, the group were calm and positive.

“They are patient and all professional people who know what needs to be done. They’ve missed flights before in their careers, but we just want answers,” he said.

Darren Bergman, the DA’s spokesperson on International Relations and Co-operation, said they were alerted that there was a group of South Africans stranded in Morocco.

Bergman said that South African officials from the Morocco mission had already been in contact with some of the members of the group.

“The group, which consisted of around 14 people, has now grown to around 30,” he said.

Department of International Relations and Co-operation spokesperson Lunga Ngqengelele said the department would be in talks with the authorities in other countries to find a solution.

Ngqengelele said that at this stage, there were no plans to evacuate any South Africans in any part of the world due to the restrictions in place.

He advised those in other countries to respect the regulations put in place by the governments of those countries.

“All we’re asking is for those who are stuck in other countries to please go and contact our missions to register their details. Doing that will help us to track them when there’s a plan in place to evacuate them,” he said.

Meanwhile, a number of World Cup-winning Springbok stars have been left stranded in Japan and unable to get flights out to South Africa to be with their loved ones.

Stars like Duane Vermeulen, Willie le Roux, Malcolm Marx, RG Snyman, Damian de Allende and Kwagga Smith all play their club rugby in Japan, but the Top League season has been cancelled.

Jesse Kriel appeared to get out in time and it is understood that Vermeulen eventually boarded a plane on Wednesday afternoon. Marx, Snyman and De Allende had their flights out of Japan cancelled, and it was not known whether they had managed to make alternative arrangements.

The Mercury

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