International Relations and Co-operation Minister Naledi Pandor on Tuesday said her department was working with its missions overseas to make sure that South Africans requiring assistance were brought home amid the COVID-19 lockdown.
This after a number of complaints from South Africans abroad, saying they had not been helped.
Pandor, in an interview on Radio 702, said Dirco was trying its best as this was a complex operation.
“I do understand there would be areas where we are failing, it’s a very difficult situation. Communication is difficult and travel arrangements are difficult,” she said.
The minister said it should be made clear that only South Africans left stranded were being helped. However, Pandor said they were doing their best.
“Several countries all have similar experiences to what has been described by our citizens, but I can assure you that we are making every effort that we can.”
But Pandor said government could not repatriate every citizen stuck overseas because of travel restrictions due to COVID-19.
She said there was a criteria.
“Not everybody is being asked to return because it’s not a mass return. It’s really looking at people who have no means of support, who’ve been sleeping at airports in Germany – who we’d like to begin with in bringing back.”
The minister appealed to South Africans to assist by staying in those countries if possible.
“If you’re a student and you’re being properly accommodated, it is better to remain where you are.”
Pandor said a large group of South Africans from various countries would be arriving over the weekend because of her department’s efforts.
For official information about COVID-19 from the Department of Health, please click here.