13 March 2019

South Africa: Parliament Calls Dirco to Enhances Consular Education to South Africans Abroad

press release

The Portfolio Committee on International Relations and Cooperation has called on the Department of International Relations and Cooperation to enhance education around the consular services guidelines and applicable standards and regulations pertaining to South Africans in distress abroad.

The Chairperson of the committee, Mr Siphosezwe Masango, said it was critical for South Africans to know exactly what to do in situations of unfortunate incidents and deaths outside of the country.

"The challenge of repatriation of bodies from the Bahamas is one such a situation that South Africans need to understand prior to travelling to such countries. The committee is hopeful that the matter will still be resolved and that the body of a South African will be repatriated," Mr Masango said.

The committee noted the incident involving a KwaZulu-Natal family, where the Bahamas refused to release the mortal remains of Ms Nobuhle Bhengu, a South African who worked for the MSC company but sadly passed on after a short illness.

He said enhanced training on protocol matters will help Members of Parliament and South Africans in fatal and desperate situations as getting involved in accidents, arrests and deaths outside the country.

The committee observed a moment of silence in honour of the people who died in the Ethiopian plane crash earlier this week.

The committee sends its condolences to all victims of that plane crash and all countries should do what they could to assist all the affected families, most of whom were attending the United Nations Environment Assembly in Nairobi, Kenya.

Issued by: Department of International Relations and Cooperation

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