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COVID-19: ‘I regret being here’ – foreign national car guard wishes to leave SA

Ruben Niyogeshimi arrived in the country three years ago with his family from Burundi.

Picture: Supplied.

JOHANNESBURG - Thursday marks exactly three weeks since South Africa confirmed the first COVID-19 case on home soil and the World Health Organization is warning the lockdown announced by government may not be enough to defeat the pandemic.

South Africa goes into lockdown at the stroke of midnight on Thursday in an effort to curb the rapid spread of the coronavirus, which has infected more than 700 people in this country and has killed more than 20,000 around the world.

South Africans will have to get used to "a new normal" over the next three weeks being confined to their homes.

But for some, this reality has far-reaching implications.

Ruben Niyogeshimi arrived in the country three years ago with his family from Burundi.

He works as a car guard in northern Joburg.

Wearing a mask, he made himself and sitting on the pavement resting his face in his hand, he watches the long queue of customers at a retail shop, panic buying before the lockdown.

An emotional Niyogeshimi said he wishes he could go back to his home country.
“I regret being here, to tell you the truth. I have my country; I have my diploma. Seriously, if I get money for transport, I wouldn’t hesitate to go home.”

Not sure of exactly how he'll cope during this lockdown, he said he can only hope he and his family will survive.
Niyogeshimi is only one of the countless car guards street venders and entrepreneurs facing crippling uncertainty as the lockdown creeps closer.

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