LeeAnne Pratt, George:
After two weeks of government quarantine in Johannesburg (George Herald, 'Back in SA from S Korea', 2 April 2020, p. 3), I just wanted to especially thank James Robb (Western Cape Department of Transport) and Ilze Jacobs (Western Cape Department of Tourism) for their incredible efforts to get me home on Good Friday.
All the passengers from my flight - who hailed from a variety of provinces - were promised at the airport by the Department of Health that they would assist us to get home after quarantine. As the time drew nearer for us to complete our quarantine, the Department of Health tried to pass the onus of our transport to the departments of Tourism and Transport, still saying till the last moment that they were waiting to hear how we would get home. With great disappointment, no help in any form was received from them. Individuals had to hire cars, at their own cost, to travel home.
I was put into contact with two tireless people who are going beyond their call of duty to assist travellers during the Covid-19 pandemic. I shared a car with two other Cape Town passengers and around 18:00 was met at Beaufort West by Ilze Jacobs, who usually assists international passengers who run into difficult times whilst visiting the Garden Route. She sourced accommodation options for my co-passengers and also drove me to Oudtshoorn where I was met by James Robb, who delivered me to my front door.
Although the broken promises of the government officials in Gauteng left a bitter taste, the 'above and beyond' efforts of Mr Robb and Mrs Jacobs epitomise the efforts of ordinary South Africans doing their best bit to help others during the Covid-19 crisis.