Minister of International Relations and Co-operation Naledi Pandor. Picture: Dirco
Minister of International Relations and Co-operation Naledi Pandor. Picture: Dirco

Group says lockdown travel controls are putting overseas jobs at risk

By James Mahlokwane Time of article published May 23, 2020

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Pretoria - This week, International Relations and Co-operation Minister Naledi Pandor announced that thousands of South Africans have been repatriated since international travel came to an abrupt halt, but not everyone is home yet.

Meanwhile, foreign embassies in the country have assisted with complex arrangements to get thousands of their citizens home from South Africa, with eight new flights announced in the week by the British High Commission.

These flights are restricted to UK citizens and those with permanent residence and are not available to those merely working there or wanting to emigrate.

Now a group calling itself “Home Away from Home” is threatening to take the government to court to force it to release South Africans who they say will lose jobs abroad if they cannot get back.

The group said it represents more than 3000 South Africans with either jobs or families in another country who do not qualify to leave on the special charter flights.

Group co-ordinator Beverly Schafer said they were looking to interdict the government if it does not loosen the grip soon, with a formal court application lodged at the Gauteng High Court, Johannesburg.

She said the government was failing to recognise that some of these South Africans had rights in other countries, and their whole financial well-being was based on their jobs outside South Africa.

She said some people had homes in other countries and the regulations did not take into consideration what citizenship meant in other countries.

The movement explained that its intention is not to challenge the constitutionality of the National Disaster Act, but to have the government make exception for travel to those with legitimate reasons for leaving the country such as being with a spouse or saving their jobs.

They said such people should not be stuck in South Africa just because a regulation did not include their specific circumstance, and argue that the regulations are, therefore, discriminatory.

Pretoria News

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