'I am relieved that this is over': Repatriated South African

'I am relieved that this is over': Repatriated South African

More than 200 South Africans from Thailand have returned home after being stranded on the island for more than six weeks. 

SAA: "Johannesburg with more than 130 passengers and SA2285 Bangkok - Johannesburg with more than 230 passengers landed last night 8 May 2020 at OR Tambo International. SAA is proud to be of service during this repatriation mission."

They were among 600 nationals who were repatriated from Asian and the Middle Eastern countries last Friday. 

With borders shut and planes grounded across the globe due to the coronavirus pandemic - travelling back home became impossible. 

READ: More South Africans stranded abroad to return home

Single mother, Marijke Lamont who worked at a rehab centre in Thailand, had been at the forefront of efforts to get people home. 

She rallied fellow South Africans and created a Whatsapp group. 

She then made contact with the embassy and Department of International Relations and Cooperation (DIRCO). 

Since their return, they have been staying at quarantine facilities. 

"I am relieved that this is over. It's been an absolute honour and a privilege to assist the embassy and DIRCO as much as I possibly could in helping everyone get back home.

"When the aeroplane took off, I cried tears of absolute joy and relief that finally over 240 of us are going to be reunited with our families," says Lamont. 

DIRCO says close to 3 400 of the 3 637 South Africans who initially indicated that they want to be repatriated have been brought back home.

NOW READ: South Africa's coronavirus curfew extended

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