DIRCO provides insight on repatriation flights to South Africa. South African Airways is one of the airlines bringing South Africans home. Picture: Supplied.
DIRCO provides insight on repatriation flights to South Africa. South African Airways is one of the airlines bringing South Africans home. Picture: Supplied.

South African flight repatriation process revealed

By Travel Reporter Time of article published May 7, 2020

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The Department of International Relations and Cooperation (Dirco) revealed what really goes into bringing South Africans stuck in other countries back home. 

This follows around 200 South Africans being stranded at Doha Hamad International Airport on Tuesday after a delayed flight due to South Africa allegedly not being able to secure enough quarantine space, Cape Talk reported. 

Dirco’s Clayson Monyela said the repatriation of South Africans was a humanitarian mission that had been co-ordinated by the National Joint Operational and Intelligence Structure (Natjoints) with the guidance of the National Coronavirus Command Council (NCCC), chaired by President Cyril Ramaphosa. 

He said all the repatriation efforts were co-ordinated with the Natjoints, to ensure compliance with the lockdown regulations.

The process 

South Africans abroad requiring repatriation should contact the relevant South African embassies. The demand will be assessed in each country. 

Monyela said the information was used to arrange the repatriation effort and to co-ordinate with Natjoints to ensure logistical arrangements with Health, Home Affairs, Police, Public Works and other relevant departments, including Public Enterprises where SAA is providing the airlift.

Approvals 

Because of the continued demand for South Africans to be repatriated, Dirco had submitted a request to the National Coronavirus Command Council following approval by the Natjoints.

When the process had been finalised and all the arrangements had been made, Dirco would continue with the repatriation of South Africans.

“We are pleased that close to 3 400 of the initial 3 637 South Africans who initially indicated through our missions that they want to be repatriated have been brought back home. This number excludes hundreds that have come back through our land borders.

“The Department reiterates its commitment to assist all stranded South African abroad to come back home,” said Monyela. 

Working hard to bring back South Africans 

Speaking on the Afternoon Drive with John Maytham on Cape Talk, Monyela said: “Outside the borders of our country, it is Dirco’s responsibility to work on the facilitation of the process of repatriation. Once they arrive in the country, they are handed over to our sister departments to work on the process of quarantine. We are doing everything possible to ensure that our nationals who are stranded abroad are brought back home.” 

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