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'Emotionally drained' Kiwi woman desperate to return home after being stranded in South Africa for nearly two months

A Kiwi woman is desperate to come home after being stranded in South Africa for nearly two months.

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Rita Neethling fears it could be a few more weeks before she can return home. Source: 1 NEWS

Rita Neethling flew to South Africa to visit family in early March. When news of the lockdown back home was imminent, she booked a flight home.

“When I arrived at Johannesburg Airport, I was told my flight was cancelled,” she told 1 NEWS.

That’s because the day before, South Africa entered its own lockdown, meaning all flights in and out of the country had been halted.

After weeks of contacting the New Zealand Consulate, she was finally told six repatriation flights had been organised to fly home 142 Kiwis through Qatar Airways.

One flight left earlier this week but the rest, including the one Ms Neethling was booked on, were cancelled.

Ms Neethling says she’s exhausted.

“At the moment I’m just completely numb. Although I have time on my hands I have no strength to do anything. I’m emotionally drained,” she said.

South Africa still has strong restrictions on its borders. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs says it’s working closely with the South African government to ensure flights are rebooked as soon as possible.