AfriForum has just issued urgent court papers in an effort to find solutions to the many problems facing South African citizens who are currently stranded abroad. This includes the fact that they are still required to spend a minimum of 14 days in quarantine in a state facility, while most have the ability and would prefer to isolate themselves. Furthermore, they also have problems in some facilities with the amenities and service, but there is no formal channel through which these issues can be addressed quickly and effectively. Slow repatriation processes, poor communication and late testing for the virus cause them additional unnecessary distress.
According to Alana Bailey, Head of Cultural Affairs at AfriForum, yesterday’s court order against forced admission into the state’s quarantine facilities only applies to people who have been in the country all the time since the inception of the COVID-19 lockdown and then test positive for the virus. The order does not include the quarantine requirements that apply to people returning to South Africa from abroad, therefore this application is essential.
Sue-Ann de Wet, who manages AfriForum’s contact with South Africans abroad, mentions that AfriForum was once again obliged this morning to urgently seek legal assistance for a repatriated South African in need of COVID-unrelated medical assistance, as the quarantine facility where he is at present, had not responded to his requests.
“These problems are constantly emerging and could be prevented if people, upon their arrival in the country, had the choice to isolate themselves for 14 days.”
Another issue that is addressed in the papers is the new regulation that even allows for people to be compelled to pay for their quarantine.
“It is absurd that repatriated citizens are forced into quarantine facilities against their will and on top of this, have to pay for it. Many people already experience financial distress after waiting for repatriation opportunities for weeks, and they will certainly not be able to pay expenses for an unnecessary service, while secure self-isolation options are available at their own homes,” adds Bailey.
The Ministers of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs; International Relations and Cooperation; and Health; as well as the Director General of Health are included as respondents in the case.