Parliament, Thursday, 18 June 2020 – The Chairperson of the Portfolio Committee on International Relations and Cooperation, Ms Tandi Mahambehlala, has welcomed the successful repatriation and subsequent burial of Mr Sibusiso Qongqo, a South African medical student who passed away while studying in Cuba.
Imagining the distress of his family, Ms Mahambehlala had urged the Department of International Relations and Cooperation to do everything necessary to facilitate his repatriation, to help the family find closure on the matter.
Mr Qongqo’s repatriation is proof that South Africa is committed to repatriate its citizens, despite the obstacles related to Covid-19 travel restrictions. It is unfortunate that the mission took longer than normal, but the committee is satisfied and thankful for its success.
Ms Mahambehlala said the committee accepts that the outbreak of the coronavirus impacted upon the repatriation processes that the department, through its missions abroad, is tirelessly working on. She pleaded with concerned families of other citizens in distress abroad to work closely with the department on the repatriation of their loved ones. She urged them to understand the difficulties imposed by the pandemic on travel.
She also called on the department to bear in mind that many families and citizens in distress abroad are in a state of panic. She urged the department to ensure that missions facilitate the repatriations guided by the spirit of Ubuntu, which defines South African diplomacy.
Mr Qongqo was buried on Tuesday, 16 June 2020 (Youth Day), in Cofimvaba, Eastern Cape. His repatriation followed a call by the committee last week that his repatriation not be delayed a day longer.
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
Cell: 081 052 6060
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