South African Government to Dispatch Foreign Expert and Pathologist to Thailand for Missing South Africans Following Tsunami

Pretoria- South African Deputy Foreign Minister Sue Van der Merwe announced on Friday 28 January 2005 that the South African Government will despatch a team of a Forensic Expert and a Pathologist to Thailand on Saturday 29 January 2005 as part of efforts to trace the four missing South Africans following the Tsunami Tragedy.

Deputy Minister Van der Merwe was speaking at a breakfast session held at the Sheraton hotel in Pretoria and hosted by the Callie and Monique Strydom Trust to counsel the Foreign Affairs Operational Centre and Consular Services Staff involved with the search of missing and unaccounted South Africans during the tsunami tragedy.

Deputy Minister Van der Merwe indicated that the team consists of Leon Ras, Head of the Forensic Division of the South African Police Services (SAPS) and Prof. Hendrik Scholtz, Chief Pathologist attached to the Gauteng Government's Health Department.

The decision to despatch the team to Thailand was taken jointly by the Foreign Minister Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma in consultation with the Minister of Health Dr. Manto Tshabalala-Msimang and the Safety and Security Minister Charles Nqakula, said Deputy Minister Van der Merwe.

Both Senior Superintendent Leon Ras and Prof. Scholtz are expected to liaise with and assist the Thailand Authorities in their Victim Identification Process with a specific focus on the four missing South Africans. In this regard, the team has collected from the affected families more DNA samples and other ante-mortum requirements for the Victim Identification Process, concluded Deputy Minister Van der Merwe.

Issued by Ronnie Mamoepa at 082-990-4853

Department of Foreign Affairs
P/Bag X152
Pretoria
0001
28 January 2005.

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