- A few weeks ago a group of 112 citizens were repatriated back to South Africa from Wuhan, China
- Members of that group have now asked the South African government to fly them back to China
- International Relations and Cooperation Minister Naledi Pandor confirmed that government has declined the request and that repatriation has thus far cost approximately R10-million
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The city of Wuhan in China became the epicentre of the coronavirus pandemic before it spread to the rest of the world.
Briefly.co.za previously reported that the South African government arranged for 112 citizens working in Wuhan to be repatriated back to the country.
Initial reports indicated that the trip would cost tax payers an estimated R25-million.
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Barely a few weeks have passed and news has now emerged that members of that group have approached government to assist with flights back to Wuhan.
News 24 reported that the Department of International Relations and Cooperation (Dirco) confirmed receipt of the request.
However, International Relations and Cooperation Minister Naledi Pandor confirmed that their request had been declined.
Pandor said, "In that first group from Wuhan, some wish to return, and we said to them it cannot be at the cost of government."
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She added, "We are not assisting you to come back for a short period then return to the country where we repatriated you from."
Tax payers may also be relieved to know that no more than R10-million has been spent on the repatriation projects, as confirmed by Pandor during her virtual media briefing.
Pandor explained that the restrained expenditure was largely due to assistance from the private sector and the fact that many of the citizens already held returned tickets.
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