WATCH | Exclusive look inside Cape Town Stadium where 6 000 tourists are preparing to fly home

News24 had an exclusive look at the Cape Town Stadium site where up to 6 000 foreign tourists are due to be processed before returning home safely.

The stadium hosted the 2010 Soccer World Cup, then rock concerts, then rugby matches - and even a world record tennis match between global superstars Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal.

But now the world-class facility has been urgently transformed into a facility to meticulously process thousands of foreign tourists.

WATCH | German government begins repatriation of citizens from SA

This initiative is being led by the Western Cape Provincial Disaster Management Centre in collaboration with multiple state agencies, including the national government, Port Health, City of Cape Town, Airports Company of South Africa, Wesgro and a host of foreign embassies and consulates.

The stadium's CEO, Lesley de Reuck, said: "When we got the call from the provincial government, it wasn't a tough decision to make.

"This is a stressful time for the country, it's a stressful time for individuals, and for the world. Can you imagine going through this kind of stress and you aren't in your own country. So we wanted to play a very small role in a very big plan.

"The logistics are working very well at the moment."

'Going very smoothly'

The deputy director in the Western Cape Department of Transport and Public Works, Faizel Williams, said: "It's been a phenomenal team effort by everyone who has been involved. It just shows you what is possible when government departments collaborate. Over the next two weeks, we have an ongoing schedule of repatriation flights."

The consul general of the German consulate in Cape Town, Matthias Hansen, told News24: "It's going very smoothly. Yesterday [Tuesday], was our third repatriation flight from Cape Town - we had the first two on Friday and Saturday.

"Since the beginning of the crisis, we had roughly 4 000 German tourists in the consular district - which includes the Northern, Eastern and Western Cape. It is our objective to have all of those who want to be repatriated, repatriated," Hansen said.

READ | Lockdown: German citizens going home after SAA agrees to provide chartered repatriation services

He added he had given all returning tourists a "farewell speech".

"I have asked all tourists for a real understanding of the measures which the South African government is taking, to fight the virus - which I think are necessary and very important.

"Secondly, I ask them all if, at all possible, to come back to South Africa. Their time in South Africa may have been cut short and ended in a rather unusual manner, but there are lots of things to see. It's a wonderful country, with warm-hearted people, and there's every reason to come back," Hansen said.


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