Number of South African Citizens in distress internationally during 2013, reasons therefor, assistance by the Department of International Relations and Cooperation, and the cost thereof





Published in the Internal Question Paper No: 7 of 2014:  20 August 2014

Mr WF Faber (DA-NC) to ask the Minister of International Relations and Cooperation:

a. How many South African Citizens were in distress internationally in 2013,

b. what were the reasons for this,

c. how did her department assist in this regard,

d. at what cost?


a. 180

b. There are various reasons causing South African Citizens to become distressed abroad.  The main reasons causing the distress relate to incidents where South African citizens lose their travel documentation and/or currency theft or negligence, become ill or injured or fall victim to crime.

c. The Department assists distressed citizens by taking actions appropriate to the nature of the incident causing distress.  The consular officials at the various diplomatic missions abroad assisted by officials at the Department’s Head Office (Consular Services) will engage with the relevant foreign- and South African authorities, private institutions and family members that could be instrumental in addressing and eliminating the cause of the distress. 

It is mainly a facilitation role to find a solution to the problem being faced by the South African national in distress.  In many cases the issuance of an emergency travel document will remove the cause of distress while in other cases the department/mission will facilitate contact with the next-of-kin, travel agents, medical institutions, the local police and others as required by the specific case.

d The consular assistance rendered by DIRCO is of a non-financial nature and no direct costs are incurred by the department in the process of rendering assistance to South Africans in distress.




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