Africa: Embassies Burn the Midnight Oil Trying to Get Their Citizens Out of South Africa

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analysis

There still seem to be serious bureaucratic obstacles which could yet jeopardise any evacuation flights between South Africa and abroad -- both ways.

Foreign embassies in South Africa are scrambling to arrange charter flights to evacuate thousands of their stranded citizens from here - and perhaps also return many of the 1,000-plus South Africans stuck all over the world by the global coronavirus clampdown.

Ambassadors in Pretoria are, however, still waiting anxiously to hear if the South African government will relax its rigid travel and lockdown restrictions enough to allow their planned rescue missions to go ahead.

And the stranded South Africans are also nervously awaiting a detailed and concrete response from their government to their appeal for rescue. President Cyril Ramaphosa agreed on Monday night to help "where possible and within our constraints" but did not elaborate.

Germany, Britain and Brazil are the countries known to be making major efforts to organise special flights to repatriate their nationals and other citizens from South Africa. And their ambassadors have offered to transport stranded South Africans on the same charter aircraft going the other way, if Pretoria will allow this.

Well over 1,000 South Africans are stuck in several foreign countries,...

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