NINE medical students from Limpopo are on their way home from Cuba after being abandoned for two nights with no place to sleep and no means of returning to SA, while the department responsible for them has blamed “bureaucracy” for the mistake.

The students, part of an SA-Cuba health co-operation agreement, were stranded after the Limpopo government failed to buy their return flight tickets on time, leaving the students to their own devices for at least two nights. Limpopo Health Department spokesman Phuti Seloba said yesterday that the tickets had finally been purchased and the students were on their way home.

DA health spokeswoman Patricia Kopane said this was unacceptable. “How can we send our children to study in a foreign land but not bother with budgeting to bring them home? This incompetence cannot be tolerated,” she said.

“I will be contacting the Minister of Health to ask for an urgent resolution of this matter,” said Kopane yesterday. Asked why there had been delays, Seloba blamed “administrative issues” and “bureaucracy”. – Political Bureau