27. Mar. 2020 Traveller 24

40 Hours and almost R80k later - the rip-off of flight prices to get home before lockdown

On 18 March they had moved and changed their return flight booked with Etihad from Phuket to Jakarta and for 26 March, flying via Abu Dhabi to Johannesburg. Outside of the high-risk countries, there was no ban on these routes to South Africa. This cost around R8 000 per person.

With all the expected delays with health screenings, they figured they would wait to purchase their domestic flight home to Cape Town once they arrived at OR Tambo International. -

On 21 March, they decided to move up their flight from Bali to Jakarta with Air Asia two days earlier, as their original flight got cancelled. These tickets at least were still at normal prices, around R800 per person. As Jakarta has seen a high rise in coronavirus numbers, they planned to keep themselves isolated in an airport hotel room until their international trip. Luckily, Air Asia didn`t charge them for the change and notified them in advance with easy assistance from an artificial intelligence bot.

The next day, Emirates started the back-and-forth of cancelling of flights - but Jana and Martin were flying with Etihad so they felt confident it would still be fine - but with one free date change they tried to find out if they could move it even earlier. Waiting in Bali, they enjoyed some beach time - almost empty with no tourists in sight - and tried to enjoy the last few hours of their holiday.

The same day, the United Arab Emirates government announced that it was halting all passengers flights in and out of its borders - including transit flights - from 25 March. This included flights through Abu Dhabi.

Upon hearing the news, their supportive travel agent changed their flight to 24 March. At the same time back home, President Cyril Ramaphosa announced that South Africa would go into a 21-day lockdown from Thursday, 26 March at 00:00.

On the day of their journey back home, before they even got on their flight from Bali to Jakarta, Etihad cancelled their flight after they had already checked-in. Forking out even more money - a total of almost R53 000 - they quickly bought the last economy seats on a Qatar Airways flight for the same day, this time via Doha to Johannesburg.

If they wanted a flight to Cape Town, they would have had to fork out R123 000 a ticket - only Business Class seats were left.

At the Jakarta airport, it was pretty empty - except for the long line of tourists from around the world trying desperately to get back home. It looked like Qatar was one of the only ones still flying - and they were coining it.

They tried to find out what`s happening at Etihad - the airline wasn`t going to reimburse them. All they got was a measly flight credit that had to be used before September of this year.

Many passengers had similar issues with them.

Some travellers didn`t have the money to pay for these flights to get home.

`We were fortunate and privileged enough to be able to afford these really high prices - were very aware at the airports that many were unable to do so, and were stranded either in transit or the destination they were trying to fly from,` says Jana.

`It really angered us to see how these large airline companies didn`t practice any sense of corporate social responsibility in these times of need, vulnerability and panic - people just really needed to get back home.`

She adds that she, like many other passengers, hopes airlines reconsider their policies during such times and enact faster procedures for refunds during crises.

Doha`s airport was busy - with UAE`s flight bans, this was one of the few routes available to travellers to get home. They tried to see if they could change their ticket to Cape Town, but it would have been another R16 000 per person.

Domestic price gouging

During their wait at the airport, they started checking domestic flights from Johannesburg to Cape Town. Many local airlines by then had announced that they were also shutting down for the lockdown period.

With many flights already sold out, they had to buy what they could get. They managed a booking for Mango - over R6 700 for two one-way tickets, which in regular times would have been between R1 000 and R1 600 for both of them.

`After all the stress and added costs of arriving in Joburg, we were quite disappointed in South Africa`s domestic airlines` ability to deal with the crisis as well, specifically Mango. On their website, the only flights from Johannesburg to Cape Town was the Economy Plus option, at a much higher cost, saying that all other economy tickets were sold out.`

`We were seated in the first row as part of our `plus` benefits - lounge access, priority boarding, and a R70 meal voucher - but when we arrived at the gate they told us the flight was so empty they had to rebalance the plane and put us all the way in the back and there was no food or drink service or priority boarding.

`It was evident to us that Mango boosted their tickets last-minute to create the impression that there were limited spaces while there were only 20 people on the airplane.`

With a fast health screening process at OR Tambo International, they made it back to Cape Town, and started their self-quarantine process at home as the rest of the country headed into lockdown - about 40 hours and almost R80 000 later. V.5065

19. May. 2020 News24

Home Affairs considers marriage registrations during Level 3

While it is clearing the backlog in birth registrations created by Level 5, the Department of Home Affairs is considering allowing the registration of marriages when the country moves to Level 3. This after the department addressed a portfolio committee on Tuesday. V.5102

Click here for full article
18. May. 2020 Africacheck

How to talk about migration in South Africa

The words used to describe migration can be confusing, but definitions are important when we discuss the movements of people. We look at the most common terms. The Covid-19 pandemic has brought many countries, and the movement of people, to a near standstill. As the world looks to restart, migration will again be at the fore, with South Africa likely to be a key part of this. V.5103

Click here for full article
13. May. 2020 All Africa

South Africa: Migrants Excluded From Government Food Aid

All around South Africa, migrants, refugees and asylum seekers who have mostly been left out of the government`s official response to the food crisis are going hungry. For Alice Munyanyiwa, a cup of tea has become a luxury she can barely afford. V.5098

Click here for full article
12. May. 2020 KCTV5

Australia faces `sobering` future economy due to coronavirus

CANBERRA, Australia (AP) ` Australia`s treasurer said Tuesday the country faces a “sobering” economic outlook due to the effects of the coronavirus and will have its largest-ever deficit when a revised budget is released in October. The 2020-21 federal budget was due to be released Tuesday. But the government was forced to delay it until it assesses the full economic cost of the coronavirus. V.5100

Click here for full article
11. May. 2020 Business Day

Government planning six, one-stop border posts The aim is to enhance efficiency, especially at the heavily congested Beitbridge border post

The government is working on a scheme to develop six, one-stop border posts with its neighbours to ensure greater efficiency in the movement of goods and people. Priority will be given to the Beitbridge border post connecting SA and Zimbabwe, which is the gateway for most of the land-based trade with the rest of Africa. This border post, the biggest, has long been plagued by lengthy delays, some lasting up to two weeks, which are extremely costly for business. V.5099

Click here for full article
10. May. 2020 The South African

Desperate Lesotho citizens jump borders to get home

Desperate citizens stranded in South Africa have taken to jumping the Lesotho border risking their lives to get home. Reports from Lesotho claim that hundreds of Basotho are resorting to perilous and illegal border crossings having been stranded in locked down South Africa. V.5096

Click here for full article
10. May. 2020 Bulawayo News

Zimbabwe returnees top 3 000

THE country received 527 citizens returning from South Africa yesterday through the Beitbridge Border Post bringing the number of returnees from various countries to 3 134 since the country and other regional countries initiated national lockdowns to curb the spread of Covid-19. V.5097

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30. Apr. 2020 Business Day

Border control: SA’s biggest foreign-policy failure since democracy

The latest experiment in border management should hardly surprise us. But it’s another depressing sign that SA is nowhere close to really dealing with how to properly manage the movement of people between SA and Zimbabwe Blowing R37m on rolls of razor wire for a new border fence between SA and Zimbabwe is in many ways a metaphor for how SA has dealt with the implosion of its northern neighbour over the years: a knee-jerk, haphazard job that has cost us dearly. V.5101

Click here for full article
16. Apr. 2020 Biz Community

Rebuilding the post-pandemic economy

The Covid-19 pandemic is set to realign the world`s social and economic structure, and fundamentally change the way people work and interact, personally and professionally. While the current social measures in place around the world are aimed at stemming the spread of the virus, there’s a good chance that there’ll be a residual adoption of elements of them as humanity adapts to ‘the new normal’ ` because the world will fundamentally never be the same again. V.5090

Click here for full article
15. Apr. 2020 Business Insider SA

The cost of home fibre in SA may drop up to R200 per month thanks to a Telkom settlement

Telkom reached an agreement with the Competition Commission to cut the prices it charges internet service providers (ISPs) to use its network. One technology analyst believes SA consumers can expect price cuts of between R100 to R200 on their monthly home-fibre bills as a result. V.5089

Click here for full article
15. Apr. 2020 News 24

Coronavirus uncertainty affects asylum seekers

The Department of Home Affairs has not confirmed the measures that have been put in place to deal with the arrival of asylum seekers,) Fears around the spread of the coronavirus have led to the South African government taking the extraordinary step of closing 35 of the country’s 72 ports of entry. After President Cyril Ramaphosa declared a state of disaster on March 15, some refugee reception offices have apparently also suspended issuing and renewing asylum permits while their staff wait to receive protective gear. V.5091

Click here for full article
15. Apr. 2020 news 24

Two British citizens who allegedly sped over SA border now in quarantine, case postponed

The case against two British citizens who allegedly deliberately ignored border officials and sped off into South Africa from Eswatini on Saturday was postponed to 30 April in the Durban Magistrate`s Court on Tuesday. V.5094

Click here for full article
15. Apr. 2020 news 24

`Unprecedented` national effort underway to combat Covid-19 as infections rise and economy dies

A national rescue effort to save thousands of lives threatened by the spread of Covid-19, while attempting to preserve and reconfigure the economy is unfolding on a scale unprecedented in democratic South Africa. The depth of the crisis the country finds itself in was underscored by a series of dire developments on Tuesday, with the coronavirus infection rate seeing its largest single increase in recent weeks, with 143 more South Africans testing positive, taking the total to 2 415. V.5095

Click here for full article
14. Apr. 2020 News 24

Covid-19: home affairs outlines measures to deal with immigration, work visas

The department of home affairs has outlined temporary measures regarding visas and permanent residence permits during the lockdown. Image: Alaister Russell People whose visas to work, study or conduct business in SA expired during the Covid-19 lockdown will not be penalised, home affairs said on Tuesday. V.5093

Click here for full article
08. Apr. 2020 SAMI

Rich, older South African men are buying Plan B passports in Europe in record numbers

Business Insider SA - 05 April 2020 The first half of 2018 saw a huge surge in applications from South Africans looking to buy their way into second passports, mostly in Europe, numbers from an advisory company show. V.5085

Click here for full article
08. Apr. 2020 SAMI

How to get British citizenship via double descent

British citizenship via the double descent route was a much talked about topic the past few months. However, there is still a lot of confusion about who can qualify. V.5086

Click here for full article
08. Apr. 2020 By Alan Knott-Craig (SA Author)

South Africa might just get lucky - this might not all come to pass but at least there’s hope.

In February, our country was in bad shape. Our stock market was over-heated. We were heading for a recession. We were heading for a downgrade. And then Covid19 happened. V.5088

Click here for full article
06. Apr. 2020 Groundup

Victory for asylum seekers in Constitutional Court

Court rules on extension of temporary permits The Constitutional Court has ruled that asylum seekers’ temporary permits must automatically be extended while their case is being reviewed. Archive photo: Ashraf Hendricks V.5083

Click here for full article
04. Apr. 2020 News24

German government begins repatriation of citizens from SA

The German government on Friday started the repatriation of its citizens from South Africa. Strict travel regulations had been in place since a 21-day nationwide Covid-19 lockdown was announced. Previously, all flights were grounded, but the repatriation was permitted due to the revised regulations announced this week by the Minister of Transport Fikile Mbalula. V.5087

Click here for full article
02. Apr. 2020 SAMI

This caters for applicants (in South Africa) that were born in the United Kingdom. This page also serves to clarify the benefits of being born in the UK versus having a parent (or grandparent) that was born in the UK.

The are quite a few complications in these cases that we are looking to clarify. The first relates to eligibility of British nationality. The second relates to the type of British nationality. Finally, we close off by revealing some solutions we have up our sleeves. V.5082

Click here for full article

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19. May. 2020 News24

Home Affairs considers marriage registrations during Level 3

While it is clearing the backlog in birth registrations created by Level 5, the Department of Home Affairs is considering allowing the registration of marriages when the country moves to Level 3. This after the department addressed a portfolio committee on Tuesday. V.5102

Click here for full article


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