South Africans stuck in Bahrain in the Middle East say the cost of flight tickets quadrupling over recent weeks has made it very difficult to get home.
Nicky Samuels is in Bahrain with several other South Africans.
She said that up until Tuesday they had not received much help from officials to get home, while a R3 000 flight jumped to R19 500.
“It has been such a gruelling process. The price of the tickets is now the main issue and it’s not even going to Cape Town. We have to make extra travelling provision to get home from Johannesburg after a two-week quarantine.
“This morning I was made aware that there are confirmed flights to Johannesburg, so it looks like things are happening,” she said.
A Cape Town pensioner stuck in New Zealand meanwhile criticised the lack of reparation flights from the country.
Jennifer Wilson has been in New Zealand since February 29 when she travelled for her nephew’s wedding. Her return flight on April 12 was cancelled.
“There have been zero flights from here. There have been flights from Australia, but not here. Currently, the repatriation flights are from Doha to Johannesburg.
“The return flight prices from Australia have also been more than people paid for their return tickets.
“Many of us are still either waiting for travel vouchers from our original return ticket or refunds,” Wilson said.
Department of International Relations and Co-operation (Dirco) spokesperson Clayson Monyela said the department was aware of many South Africans who remained stranded abroad.
Dirco had so far facilitated the repatriation of close to 6 000 South Africans, Monyela said, as he appealed for patience while the department explored and negotiated ways of bringing them back home.
“We implemented this process to assist our nationals who were in distress. This included those stranded at airports, students who were asked to evacuate their places of residence as many countries were implementing their lockdowns, the elderly, and those who needed medical attention.
“With time, we began to receive requests from other categories of South Africans who had either lost their jobs due to companies and schools being affected by the lockdowns and/or simply ran out of money to continue to sustain themselves abroad.
“The repatriation was carried out through collaboration across several departments and we were fortunate to have the trust of our citizens that we would assist,” he said.