De Lille: Officials responsible for bungling repatriation process to account

On Tuesday, EWN revealed how a group of citizens evacuated from the US were taken to isolation sites on Sunday that were not prepared to receive them.

FILE: Public Works Minister Patricia de Lille. Picture: @DepartmentPWI/Twitter

JOHANNESBURG - Minister of Public Works and Infrastructure Patricia De Lille on Tuesday said the officials responsible for moving repatriated South Africans to the wrong quarantine sites would have to foot the bill for the costly bungling themselves.

On Tuesday, Eyewitness News revealed how a group of citizens evacuated from the US were taken to isolation sites on Sunday that were not prepared to receive them.

The group has complained about the inhumane living conditions they faced after they were left without water and food for 15 hours.

A second group that landed on Monday was also left stranded for hours at the airport before they were finally taken to their quarantine hotels.

Allegations of miscommunication and poor planning were at the centre of this bungling that’s left repatriated South Africans either stranded for hours or in ill-prepared quarantine sites.

De Lille promised to get to the bottom of what happened with at least two officials being investigated.

“There is no signed agreement between the Department of Public Works and Eskom… we have to interact with the hotels. The hotel confirmed that only 38 people arrived,” she said.

Leora Nates (23), who used to work at the Walt Disney World Resort in Florida, said she and her friend had to pay for their own repatriation flight, which cost more than R15,000.

“A lot of people are under the impression that repatriation flights are free, they’re not free. Then to come here and be put into not the best conditions... Some of us have been put into what you would call a dump,” she said.

Nates and her friend are being isolated for 14 days at a building owned by Eskom before they could be cleared and return to their families.

The minister has promised to relocate them as soon as possible.

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