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South Africans stuck in Morocco plead for money to get them home

Stranded South Africans are asking for donations to help raise $25,000 through a crowdfunding page to pay for a chartered CemAir flight to get them home.
Stranded South Africans are asking for donations to help raise $25,000 through a crowdfunding page to pay for a chartered CemAir flight to get them home.
Image: Facebook/CemAir (Pty) Ltd

Just over $350 (about R6,500) has been raised  for 34 South Africans stranded in Morocco by flight restrictions imposed by the Covid-19 lockdown regulations.

The group of South Africans, who have been stuck in Morocco more than a month, are pleading for funds to pay for repatriation as they continue to battle with finances and resources.

The group, through a crowdfunding page, is asking for anything from $1 (R18,61) to help raise $25,000 (around R465,000) to pay for a chartered CemAir fight to get them home.

Kwena Isadore Moabelo, one of the stranded South Africans in Morocco, took to Instagram to plead for funds.

“After seven weeks of trying to get home, we have finally managed to secure a chartered flight with CemAir, which will allow us to pick up fellow South Africans in four other African countries before we head home,” he said.

“Although we have managed to raise some funds among ourselves, it is not enough to cover the costs of the flight. To supplement our flight costs, we humbly need your kind assistance. We will be grateful for any contributions to fund our return home.”

According to Moabelo, the flight is scheduled to leave on May 12. It will collect South Africans in Morocco, Ivory Coast, Mauritania, Burkina Faso and Ghana, before heading to SA.

“As a group, we are desperate and vulnerable - longing for home. Please help us.”

CemAir CEO Miles van der Molen told Kaya FM last week that while Morocco was a long way from SA, the airline was looking at solutions for South Africans in that country and that part of the continent wanting to come home.

“There are quite a few countries that have a significant number of South Africans who do not really have any other way of getting home at this stage. The solution is being finalised but certainly a lot of work is being done,” said Van der Molen.

In a statement this week, the department of international relations & co-operation (Dirco) said it was doing everything it could to bring home all South Africans stranded abroad.

The department also disputed claims that the government had pulled the plug on a Qatar Airlines flight to repatriate South Africans.

“The department wishes to state that it has not cancelled any arrangement with Qatar Airlines. Instead, it is continuing discussions with the airline to repatriate South Africans in line with the rules and regulations stipulated by the government,” said Dirco spokesperson Lunga Ngqengelele.

Ngqengelele said the repatriation of South Africans was a “humanitarian mission” that has been co-ordinated by the national joint operational and intelligence structure, with the guidance of the national coronavirus command council chaired by President Cyril Ramaphosa.

“All the repatriation efforts are co-ordinated with the national joint operational and intelligence structure to make sure these efforts are compliant with the lockdown regulations,” he said. “South Africans abroad requiring repatriation have been encouraged to contact South African embassies to enable the  department to assess the demand in each country.”

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