Dear Swedes in South Africa
We are now in the seventh week of lockdown and even if South Africa is now at risk level 4, our daily life stills feels very restricted. The total prohibition on passenger flights is still in place and all airports are closed. As far as we have been able to interpret statements by the Minister of Transport, commercial international flights may be allowed at risk level 2.
The repatriation effort that the Embassy carried out in cooperation with other EU countries ended on April 30. Almost 300 Swedes were able to leave South Africa on these flights. Since the end of this effort and President Ramaphosa’s announcement at the end of April that lockdown would continue – albeit on level 4 – the Embassy has been contacted by some 90 Swedes that have put themselves on our list of persons interested in repatriation.
Other EU countries have experienced the same interest from citizens wanting to return to Europe. The Embassy will continue to actively follow-up on possibilities that may arise. I would therefore like to recommend everyone that wants to leave South Africa, to send their contact details to us, so we can contact you should a possibility arise. (See the Embassy’s message of April 24 for more details.)
During this whole period, the Embassy has kept the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Stockholm informed about the situation in South Africa and about Swedish citizens wanting to return to Sweden. We will continue with this and have a continuing dialogue with the Ministry’s Consular Department about this.
I would also like to mention the fact that Qatar Airways some time ago announced that they would arrange several “charter relief flights” from Johannesburg to Doha. The Embassy is not a part of this arrangement, but we choose to inform about this opportunity. Unfortunately, the initiative met with some problems and passengers that booked themselves on the first flights have still not been able to leave. According to the information we have today, some flights may leave this week. For Swedes, that have booked themselves on the Qatar Airways flights, the Embassy will issue Certificates of Travel, in order to be able to travel from the place of residence to the assembly point at the Embassy of Qatar in Pretoria. I would strongly recommend everyone with a booking with Qatar Airways to keep a close contact with the airline.
As I have stated earlier, the Embassy is open, and we are available to provide the support that may be needed. With the present lockdown rules, it’s not possible to travel to the Embassy, but we hope this may be possible when we reach the next risk level. If someone has a passport that expires and for some reason must leave South Africa (with a repatriation flight), you may contact the Swedish Consulate in Cape Town for a provisional passport.
I would also like to say thank you to everyone that has expressed their thanks for the Embassy’s services and I sincerely hope that we in due time jointly can leave this period of lockdown and restrictions behind us.