I am delighted to welcome back the many Brazilian citizens who have visited my beautiful home country, South Africa for business or pleasure. They unfortunately became stranded as many countries across the world, including South Africa and Brazil began to shut down air traffic and borders in an attempt to slow down and cut off the spread of the deadly coronavirus.
We can understand the anxiety and concerns they may have experienced and empathise with their loved ones who naturally wished to have them back home as soon as possible.
We congratulate the Minister of the Department of International Relations and Cooperation (DIRCO) and the Minister of the Department of Transport (DoT) and all of the other Members of the National Command Center, Chaired by H.E. President Ramaphosa for the tremendous efforts that resulted in the first repatriation flight of more than 300 Brazilians being able to take off to Sao Paulo on the morning of 1 April 2020.
I am also in active contact with many South Africans who are in Brazil and who wish to return home to South Africa as soon as reciprocal arrangements are finalised. Our Government remains concerned about their safety and well-being. Together with my team at the Embassy in Brasilia and the Consulate General in Sao Paulo, we are doing everything possible to support our stranded nationals. We urge you to remain patient and to continue to be safe.
I shall spare no effort and will continue coordinating closely with my counterpart in Pretoria, the Ambassador of Brazil to South Africa, H.E. Nedilson Jorge and DIRCO Head Office in a joint effort to assist the stranded South Africans in Brazil as well as the remaining Brazilians who wish to depart South Africa.
Ntsiki J Mashimbye
Ambassador of South Africa to Brazil
1 April 2020
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