Parliament, Thursday, 02 April 2020 – The Chairperson of the Portfolio Committee on International Relations and Cooperation, Ms Tandi Mahambehlala, has welcomed the numerous interventions announced by the Minister of International Relations, Dr Naledi Pandor, to the effect that the Department of International Relations and Cooperation continues to extend consular services to South Africans residing or in distress abroad, due to the impact of Covid-19 across the globe.
The Portfolio Committee on International Relations and Cooperation has noted with gratitude that South African missions abroad are working tirelessly to locate South Africans stranded in different countries and facilitating the evacuation of those who are willing and able, as and when it becomes possible. It is commendable that the missions have prioritised those stranded in airports, without accommodation, the elderly and the sick, and will be in a position to approach the receiving countries to facilitate flight clearances for chartered flights to bring back some of the citizens.
Ms Mahambehlala has noted that most countries of the world have imposed travel restrictions, accompanied by national strategies to limit the movement of people through lockdowns. However, she has observed that the international relations department has navigated these turbulent waters, through targeted consular services offered by South African missions abroad. These services have extended to asking countries abroad to, among other things, extend visas for those South Africans who were in those countries for various reasons. The department has also been observed to be liaising with families in South Africa to contribute to the payment of accommodation for family members in distress abroad.
The South African missions were deployed to provide consular services during the recent successful repatriation of South Africans from Wuhan Province in China. The chairperson expressed her gratitude to China for its assistance and support to South African citizens during the outbreak and lockdown in Wuhan. She also expressed her belief in China’s ability to control the outbreak of the virus.
Ms Mahambehlala urged the Department of International Relations and Cooperation to continue monitoring for calls from South Africans in distress and to ensure that these South Africans remain informed. She further encouraged the department to continue engaging South Africa’s friends to assist the republic, in whatever form. On behalf of the portfolio committee, she thanked those countries that have already donated money and other resources necessary to fight the spread of the virus.
ISSUED BY THE PARLIAMENTARY COMMUNICATION SERVICES ON BEHALF OF THE CHAIRPERSON OF THE PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE ON INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS AND COOPERATION, MS TANDI MAHAMBEHLALA.
For media enquiries or interviews with the Chairperson, please contact the committee’s Media Officer:
Name: Sibongile Maputi (Mr)
Parliamentary Communication Services
Tel: 021 403 8041
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