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South Africans in Egypt set to return home, no news for group in Morocco

22 April 2020 - 10:49 By Ernest Mabuza
A group of 43 South Africans in Egypt are set to return to SA on Wednesday. However, there is no news about when will the group of 34 South Africans stranded in Morocco will return home.
A group of 43 South Africans in Egypt are set to return to SA on Wednesday. However, there is no news about when will the group of 34 South Africans stranded in Morocco will return home.
Image: THE TIMES/MOELETSI MABE

The 43 South Africans stranded in Egypt said they were excited to be returning to SA on Wednesday afternoon.

However, the group stranded in Morocco was becoming despondent as there was no news on when it will be repatriated.

The two groups of South Africans found themselves stranded in the north African countries after the lockdown in most countries last month saw the cancellation of international air travel.

However, travel restrictions were lifted earlier this month to allow for evacuation of foreign citizens.

The department of international relations confirmed that the 43, who have been stranded in Egypt for close to a month, will be repatriated to SA on Wednesday

There have been various plans to repatriate the 43 but some of them were postponed at the last minute.

However, the department managed to arrange a flight to bring the South Africans home on Wednesday afternoon.

Melissa Schnettler, one of the 43, said though the group was returning to SA, “we are so sad that the group (of 34 South Africans) in Morocco is still stranded”.

There were plans by the SA embassy in Morocco to repatriate the group stranded there last week but they did not materialise.

When the flight from Morocco was mooted, it was proposed that the group in Egypt charter a flight to join the Moroccan group and fly back together to SA. The group in Morocco had offered to help the Egyptian group by sharing the costs of the charter flight. However, the 43 South Africans in Egypt said they could not afford the exorbitant R871,000 required to charter a flight from Cairo to Casablanca.

One of the people stranded in Morocco said the group wanted answers as to why they were not included in the flight from Egypt or why no plans were being made for them as they too had been waiting for over a month to get home.

The person said their group had people in the coronavirus high-risk age category, some of whom were diabetic, others were on chronic medication, and others had heart and anxiety problems.

James de Wet, another of those stranded in Morocco, said the group asked to be included in the repatriation flight from Egypt but that was not happening.

“We have no idea when we will be repatriated. Obviously, our group is becoming extremely frustrated and despondent,” De Wet said.


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