Malawians in South Africa Want Repatriation Amid Lockdown Extension

By Leonard Masauli, MANA

Malawians living in South Africa have asked the Malawi Government to facilitate their return home after South Africa’s President, Cyril Ramaphosa announced a lockdown extension to September in a bid to contain the further spread of Coronavirus.

The announcement made on July 3 has sent shivers down the spine of Malawian citizens in the country and are calling on the Malawi Government to consider repatriating them back home, saying the suffering inflicted by the lockdown is unbearable.

Director of Malawian Business Forum in the Diaspora, Jones Yamikani Chadza said a lot of Malawians are suffering due to the lockdown and hardly access food and shelter.

“We have numerous Malawians suffering. As I speak to you, some are sleeping in park stations and on empty stomach. I have lists and lists of people who want to return home.

I receive calls day and night of people in need of help and willing to return home. There are thousands of them,” said Chadza.

Chadza said he has taken an initiative to approach the Malawian Embassy on the same but it is not forthcoming.

He said the previous government’s initiative that sent buses to repatriate some Malawians was not effective as it only benefitted business people that were stranded due to lockdown.

Alvin Tambala from Pretoria North said numerous Malawians are stranded and would like to come back home.

Tambala said there was a huge struggle on the buses which only ferried business people and their merchandise home.

Another concerned Malawian in the diaspora, Moses Simkonda said a lot of Malawians lost their jobs due to the lockdown and they have nothing to rely on.

“We call for help so that these people can go home otherwise it’s hard to live here in South Africa without anything to do,” lamented Simkonda.

However, spokesperson for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Rejoice Shumba said government is not repatriating its citizens and those willing to come home are doing that on their own initiative.

“Government of Malawi is not repatriating its citizens, what is happening is that if there are people willing to return home, they are doing that on their own, hiring buses and pay, then contact the embassy to provide them with clearance so that they can cross the boarders without any problems,” said Shumba.

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