Home Affairs would not say how many people were involved, in which countries and under what the circumstances they were stranded.
The department had waited for these people to pay the money back when they got home, but they failed to settle the amounts involved.
In the audited annual financial report submitted in the National Legislature, the department said it had to pay for these people to return home.
“The financial assistance balance of R331 000 was written off during the 2018/19 financial year. It was a long outstanding balance that was owed by South Africans that were financially challenged whilst overseas. The mission facilitated their return back to the country, but they are then obliged to pay back the funding or risk their passport being blocked. The balance was already three years or older,” said the department.