Government advises travellers to get insurance after another SA teacher dies in China

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Siphosethu Mqokozo died after reportedly suffering an apparent panic attack while working as a teacher in China.
Siphosethu Mqokozo died after reportedly suffering an apparent panic attack while working as a teacher in China.
  • Siposethu Mqokozo died while working as a teacher in China.
  • Her family now needs about R300 000 to repatriate her.
  • The 30-year-old teacher had a panic attack and died on the way to the hospital. 

As yet another family crowdfunds for their loved one's remains to be repatriated from China, the government has advised citizens to take out travel insurance when going overseas.

Department of International Relations and Cooperation (Dirco) spokesperson Clayson Monyela said it was important for South Africans travelling or living abroad to register with the local embassies.  

However, he stressed that it was not the department's duty to repatriate South Africans who died abroad. 

"That is why we encourage people to get travel insurance when they travel. That is what the consular services' policy says." 

Monyela said the country does not have a budget to repatriate people from foreign countries. 

READ | Family struggling to repatriate South African teacher who died in China

Siphosethu Mqokozo's family is currently asking for donations after she died while working as a teacher in China. 

Her sister Lubabalo Mqokozo said she last spoke to Siphosethu last Wednesday. 

On Thursday, Mqokozo was surprised to receive a call from the school informing her that her younger sister had died on her way to the hospital after having a panic attack.

Siphosethu was based in Yangzhou, in Jiangsu province.

She said:

We spoke, and she was doing fine. She told me that she was worried about teachers dying in China. She said she was worried that people don't get sick for long before they die.

The sisters were discussing the sudden death of Lusanda Sixaxeni, 27, who moved to China as an English teacher in 2019 after she graduated with a political science and psychology qualification from Nelson Mandela University.

Sixaxeni suddenly fell ill the week she was supposed to go back home to Mossel Bay in the Western Cape and was admitted to hospital in Beijing, where she died on 12 September. 

In another case, 27-year-old NomaQocwa Blackie, from Gqeberha in the Eastern Cape, went to China in 2017 to teach English.

She was found dead in her flat in Shanghai on 18 April this year.

Sixaxeni's family needs R400 000 to bring her back to South Africa.

Mqokozo and her family are in the same boat and are also seeking donations to repatriate Siphosethu. They need about R300 000 to transport her body back home.  

"Once she is at home we'll be fine. We will be able to bury her because we have burial societies and other arrangements." 

Siphosethu will be buried in Mount Frere, she said. 

READ | Body of SA teacher who died in China repatriated, family finally able to 'close this chapter'

Mqokozo said 30-year-old Siphosethu was the family breadwinner.

"She was younger than us, but we all looked to her. Now that she is gone, I don't know what will happen." 

Siphosethu studied education at the University of Johannesburg before moving to China in October 2019.

She said the school informed them it doesn't have insurance to repatriate her.

"They said they only have health insurance for going to hospital, but not to transport her back home." 

Mqokozo said that, according to the school, Siphosethu fell ill on Thursday and was taken to hospital.

She said: 

She then contacted her agent and asked that he come to the hospital to help with English translations. She got worse and was transported to another hospital in an ambulance. She died on the way there.

Mqokozo said her sister had not had a panic attack before.


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