SA, we have landed…SA Repatriation with Ambassador Moosa

On Friday, 17th July 2020, the SA Diplomat Abroad had the opportunity to sit down with HE Ambassador Faizel Moosa, The South African Ambassador to Qatar to discuss South African Repatriations.

His Excellency, who played an instrumental part from his Embassy in Doha, in the repatriation of many South Africans from all over the world took the time out to chat to us about the challenges and successes of the repatriation project.

Through his relationship with the CEO of Qatar Airways, he was able to repatriate more than 7500 South African citizens stuck abroad due to the Covid-19 lockdowns imposed by many countries. He and his team at the South African Embassy in Doha, coordinated between governments and Qatar Airways which in most cases needed management through the night to accommodate the differences in time zones from around the world.

The Ambassador and his team worked tirelessly to assist many South Africans and went beyond the call of duty to assist fellow South Africans stuck and stranded abroad. Initially when the lockdown was imposed in South Africa, the Minister of the Department of International Relations and Cooperation (DIRCO) announced that there were about 3000 South Africans stuck abroad, however to date, the South African Embassy in Doha under the leadership of Ambassador Moosa has assisted in the repatriation of more than 7500 South Africans from all over the world.

The Ambassador and his team even went as far as to procure free flight tickets through Qatar Airways for a few South Africans who were unable to afford to pay for repatriation flights.

The reason for the increase in numbers is solely due to people losing their work due to the economic pressure that came with the Covid-19 crisis. Though through all this effort and the sterling work undertaken by His Excellency Ambassador Faizel Moosa and the South African Embassy in Doha, we have still seen a barrage of criticism being displayed by South Africans on Social Media and the media at large.

At the end of June 2020, His Excellency unfortunately had to himself board a repatriation flight to South Africa from Doha as he had to attend to a death in his family, and on arrival in Cape Town, he too was placed into a quarantine facility for 14 days.

When speaking to the His Excellency about the experiences during this crisis, he commended the South African community in Doha that heeded the call to all fellow countrymen who were stranded and needed vital assistance. He conveyed a story of a large group of South Africans who were stranded for almost 24hrs at Doha’s Hamad International Airport as the quarantine facilities in South Africa were not ready for their arrival and therefore South African landing rights was not granted to the Qatar Airways flight at OR Tambo International Airport. He told us of how the Proudly South African Group, South Africans in Doha assisted with essentials for those stranded. The well-known South African restaurant chain, Nando’s which has a strong presence in Qatar also stepped up and made sure that all South Africans stranded were fed.

The stories and how South Africans rallied together to assist their fellow countrymen is indeed heart-warming and is a clear sign that the spirit of Ubuntu is still very much alive.

The Archbishop Emeritus, Desmond Tutu once said: “It is through weakness and vulnerability that most of us learn empathy and compassion and discover our soul”. The one good thing that came out of the Covid-19 crisis, is that we as South Africans have once again learnt to put aside our differences and stand together for the benefit of society at large.

Well done South Africa and a very big thank you to His Excellency Ambassador Faizel Moosa and the South African Embassy team in Doha for their assistance during this very trying time.

Please check out the full interview on our YouTube Channel: SA Diplomat Abroad

By Abdu-Raof Hanslo


SA Diplomat Abroad News

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