There were attempts to organise a flight to pick up the South Africans in Morocco in the middle of April, but the flight never materialised.
De Wet said on Wednesday that CemAir had done tireless work to get stranded South Africans scattered around Africa back home.
“When the focus was on long hauls and people all over the place elsewhere, they worried about Africa. This is their longest repatriation flight and deserves a special story,” De Wet said.
He estimated that it will take about 18 hours to reach Johannesburg, with all the stops and refuelling.
De Wet said the cost for the flight back home was around R18,000 per person.
“Thinking about the ridiculous charter quotes we got seven weeks ago when we were trying to get out of here, the cost is approximately R18,000 for a return flight. That is pretty fair,” De Wet said.
De Wet thanked CemAir CEO Miles Van der Molen and said he saw these flights as a humanitarian exercise and not as a profit exercise.
“He and his team need to be applauded,” De Wet said.
De Wet also thanked the department of international relations & co-operation for getting approvals and co-ordinating landing rights.
“There was definitely involvement from them and we thank them for that. If they don't say something happens, it does not happen. They were part of it all and we thank them,” De Wet said.