At around 8:30 p.m. local time on Monday the six South African buses Malawi government hired to ferry first group of 390 Malawian nationals repatriated from South Africa arrived back home with sombre mood.
The returnees arrived at Kamuzu Stadium in Commercial city of Blantyre Monday evening from Durban, South Africa.
They were welcomed by i Minister of Information, Tourism and Culture, Kondwani Nankhumwa, who is also government’s spokesperson, and Home Affairs and Internal Security Minister, Atupele Muluzi, among other government officials.
Among the 390 returnees are men, women, and children between 6 months and 12 years old.
Most of the returnees were conspicuously in destitute situation putting on tattered slippers; some were even bare footed and in shabby clothes.
Nankhumwa said the Malawians had “lost everything”, including their passports.
More buses are expected from Tuesday onwards as the total number of Malawians trapped in South Africa has now reached 3,200 and according to Nankhumwa.
He said 60 more buses have been hired to ferry the stranded Malawi nationals back home.
The returnees are scheduled to undergo screening by immigration, social welfare departments before will be handed over to the Department of Disaster and Management Affairs for logistics to get them dispatched to their respective homes.
Hundreds of Malawians escaping poverty back home move to South Africa every year in search of work.