The South African Department of International Relations on 4 July launched its new Travel Smart with Dirco Campaign, in an effort to help South African travellers, travelling abroad, better understand how consular services could help them.
With the launch of the new campaign, Dirco is also urging South Africans travelling overseas to take time to learn as much as possible about their intended destination.
Deputy international relations minister Reginah Mhaule said Dirco had decided to launch the initiative following South Africa’s signing of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) at the recent African Union summit.
South Africans often faced destitution in foreign countries in circumstances that required consular assistance but were unaware of what these services were, Mhaule said.
“Our department is mandated with rendering assistance and support to the public, working closely in collaboration with our diplomatic and consular representatives abroad. As such, the colleagues responsible in carrying out this mandate on a daily basis are in the cold face of service delivery like any other line function department,” explained Mhaule.
“The only difference between Dirco and other departments is that we function largely in the purview of foreign relations. However, our work is aimed at improving the living conditions of South Africans.
“The current uncertain and volatile security climate in the world requires us to respond favourably to these needs while adhering to our international obligations,” she added.
Mhaule said the Vienna Convention grants South African officials the right to access citizens in distress, but urged citizens travelling abroad to make financial provisions and the necessary arrangements with the department.
Dirco now plans “travel smart” provincial roadshows to further enhance public comprehension of what it can offer as consular assistance abroad.