Press Release

11 June 2021

South Africa declares diplomats persona non grata for abusing diplomatic privileges

The Department of International Relations and Cooperation wishes to confirm that it has, on behalf of the Republic of South Africa, declared several diplomats persona non grata following an intensive investigation into their flouting of diplomatic privileges.

The said diplomats were found guilty of engaging in illicit trade in duty-free alcohol.

This decision was taken in line with the Vienna Convention of 1961. The Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations of 1961 is fundamental to the conduct of foreign relations and ensures that diplomats can conduct their duties without the threat of influence by the host government.

However, in instances where such privileges are abused, the host country is obliged to take the necessary action in line with the Convention.

To this end, the government of South Africa has given the affected diplomatic staff members and their families 72 hours within which they should leave South Africa. They are also expected to relinquish their diplomatic status by returning all the necessary diplomatic tools to the Department of International Relations and Cooperation.

Investigations of similar transgressions by other missions accredited to South Africa are at an advanced stage and similar action will be taken should they be found guilty.

Accordingly, the South African government calls upon all diplomatic missions accredited to the Republic to respect, uphold and comply with all the laws of the land, including adherence with the prescripts of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations of 1961.

Enquiries: Mr Clayson Monyela, Spokesperson for DIRCO, 082 884 5974


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