International Relations / Africa News
The Travel Smart campaign will go a long way towards improving the general understanding of Consular Services.
Planning your next trip abroad? Then you might want to know more about the laws of the country you are visiting as well as other necessary information just in case of an emergency.
This is because falling sick, becoming a victim of crime or facing an emergency can be traumatic especially when you are in a foreign country.
The “Travel Smart” campaign by the Department of International Relations and Cooperations (DIRCO) Consular Service will be your guide in this regard.
“Travel Smart” is aimed at encouraging South Africans to research their destinations and the laws of the countries they seek to visit or apply to work in.
“Most South Africans face the reality of being destitute in foreign countries and under these circumstances they seek our assistance without prior knowledge of what services we are mandated to provide. This situation must be changed and I believe that the Consular Service campaign we are launching will enable us to do so,” said DIRCO Deputy Minister Reginah Mhaule when she was unveiling the campaign.
Fifty-one young South Africans
Another group which can tell better the realities of being stuck in a foreign country is the 51 young South Africans who were enticed by an agent to travel to China on a study visa while planning to work as English teachers.
The promise was that they would get their work visas upon arrival in China, which never materialised.
While in China on study visas, they started working, which was in contravention of the immigration laws of China.
Liaising with Chinese authorities Dirco helped the stranded citizens, who were victims of a visa scam.
About 49 of the 51 have returned home safely and the remaining two will remain in custody as they served as recruiters.
Learn more about your destination
Before boarding an aeroplane South Africans are advised to take time to learn about the financial, political, cultural and economic environment of their intended destination, as well as a few key phrases in the host country's language.
It is advisable to also have the contact details of the nearest South African representative office and to carry contact details of their next of kin at all times.
Those planning to travel can familiarise themselves with the information that is readily available on the Dirco website