DIRCO assists distressed SA citizen in Germany

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

The Department of International Relations and Cooperation (DIRCO) says it is aware of the case of a distressed South African citizen reported in Berlin, Germany.

The distressed person is reported to be a 73-year-old Colleen Crossley from Somerset West, who was found wandering in Germany’s Frankfurt Airport without her possessions.

According to the media report, her son Seth Baise, who reported the incident, said his mom initially left Cape Town International Airport on Friday, 3 August 2018 and was found on Sunday, 5 August.

Seth says his mom was meant to embark on an exciting, two-week tour of Europe but instead French authorities have sent her to Frankfurt University Hospital.

“Consular Services is fully aware of the tragic incident and immediately assisted Baise when the matter came to our attention,” DIRCO said in a statement on Wednesday.

The South African Embassy in Berlin made direct contacts with Baise since Monday and has also made contact with the hospital, the department said.

“The embassy is in contact with the hospital. Once Crossley is fit to travel, the embassy will assist with the issuance of emergency travel documents.”

Travel Smart campaign 

DIRCO recently launched the “Travel Smart” campaign aimed at encouraging South Africans to research their destinations and the laws of the countries they seek to visit or apply for work.

It will also ensure that in the event of an emergency, South African travellers can be offered urgent advice such as that in the event of a natural disaster, civil unrest or family emergencies, by a South African embassy or consulate officials.

What can the DIRCO Consular Services do for you? 

In case of emergencies, DIRCO will offer non-financial assistance, which is appropriate to the individual circumstances of each case, including:

  • issuing replacement travel documents against the payment of the prescribed fee after verifying citizenship (in cases of lost South African passports);
  • providing appropriate help (non-financial assistance) if you have suffered serious assault, are a victim of other crimes, or are in a hospital;
  • providing details of local law commissions, interpreters, doctors and funeral parlours (without assuming responsibility for their effectiveness or costs thereto);
  • contacting you as soon as possible after being informed (dependent on local circumstances) that you have been detained;
  • non-financial assistance to families of deceased persons; and
  • consular notarial functions (e.g. legalisation of South African public documents for use abroad and providing Commissioner of Oaths services). 

What it cannot do

  • Get you out of prison, prevent the local authorities from deporting you after your prison sentence or interfere in criminal or civil court proceedings.
  • Help you enter a country, for example, if you do not have a visa or your passport is not valid, as we do not interfere in another country’s immigration policy or procedures.
  • Give you legal advice, investigate crimes or carry out searches for missing people.
  • Get you better treatment in hospital or prison than is given to local people.
  • Pay any bills or give you money.
  • Make travel arrangements for you, or find you work or accommodation.
  • Make business arrangements on your behalf.
  • Assist with transfer of funds to a national who is not in distress.
  • Return a child that has been abducted by a parent/family member.

For more information on what the Travel Smart campaign read: http://www.dirco.gov.za/department/consular_awareness_programme/index.html. – SAnews.gov.za