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Dirco says it only offers distressed citizens abroad non-financial consular help

Some South Africans living in China have detailed tales of increasing mental health challenges and income losses as a result of China’s efforts to counter the spread of COVID-19.

JOHANNESBURG – The Department of International Relations and Cooperation (Dirco) said that it would be unrealistic to expect it to pay for flight tickets of South Africans who wished to return home from China amid that country’s continued lockdown restrictions.

Some South Africans living in China have detailed tales of increasing mental health challenges and income losses as a result of China’s efforts to counter the spread of COVID-19.

READ: China’s Covid measures taking mental toll on SA citizens living & working there

Increasing COVID-19 cases in the world’s most populous nation and subsequent lockdowns in parts of China have prompted public demonstrations.

South Africans living there who have spoken to Eyewitness News said that the stand-off between the Chinese government and its citizens had left them in limbo.

Lungi Shiba and Msizi Didi are some of the thousands of this country’s graduates who have moved to China to teach English amid South Africa’s increasing unemployment rate.

They said that China’s strict lockdown regulations had been emotionally taxing.

“We are being tested every now and again and the results show that we are negative, so why should we continue to be under a lockdown,” Shiba said.

“We need an embassy where they can give us support because what we have noticed from 2020 is that they are not going to give us a ticket home,” Didi said.

Spokesperson at the Department of International Relations and Cooperation, Clayson Monyela, said that they could only offer distressed South Africans abroad non-financial consular assistance.

“Because the is no government in the world that will ever have a budget to buy plane tickets and book hotel accommodation for its citizens who may be in situations of distress aboard,” Monyela said.

Monyela says they encourage all South Africans who visit abroad to ensure that they have travel insurance for cases where they may run out of funds to get back home.

FROM THE ARCHIVES: ‘It’s a ghost town’: a day in the life of a South African in corona-hit Wuhan


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