This is a guide for Danes in South Africa in case of an emergency situation.
Little risk of a major crisis
It is estimated that around 2500 Danes are resident in South Africa. At any given time only around 250 residents are registered on the Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ list of Danes in South Africa. The majority of Danes live in the Gauteng-area and the Cape Town-area. Added to this is a considerable amount of Danish tourists (Source: South African Tourism 2006).
It is highly unlikely that there is near future would arise a situation in which evacuation of Danish citizens would be necessary as a result of social unrest, breakout of an epidemic or civil war-like situations.
The Embassy’s contingency planning is therefore especially pointed towards the effective handling of major traffic accidents in South Africa. The most probable major case is therefore estimated to be an accident which would include a bus full of Danish tourists.
The ‘List of Danes’ (Danskerlisten) is for your benefit
The Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs has designed a database which assists the Danish Embassies around the world in keeping track of Danish citizens who have registered on the website. The database is able to keep track of Danes with both permanent and temporary residents in South Africa, as well as tourists visiting for a short time. The list contains details such as name, address, telephone numbers, email address etc. on the registered persons.
The list is voluntary, but the Embassy recommends that all Danes – especially those residing in South Africa for a longer period of time – registers themselves on the website. Please click here to register on the list.
Remember to inform about changes
To ensure that your registration is current, and to ensure that you will not be deleted from the list, please check your details regularly (for example new address, new telephone number, new email address etc.).
The main method that the Embassy uses to contact Danish citizens is usually by email. Furthermore, the Embassy regularly updates its website, so all Danes are recommended to regularly check the website.
Precautionary measures in case of an emergency situation
In a case of emergency, for example following a natural disaster or regional riots, it is usually best to stay at home, keep calm and follow the news on the radio/TV/internet.
All Danes are advised to always have a valid passport, and that it and other identity documents are easily accessible.
The Embassy will, in so far as possible, communicate through emails and sms. It is therefore vital that this information is always updated.
In extremely rare cases of emergency, it can become necessary to evacuate Danish citizens. Such action will be arranged by the Embassy and the relevant authorities in Denmark, possibly together with the cooperation of other Nordic Embassies or EU Embassies. The exact circumstances will determine the most suitable method of evacuation.
The Embassy will seek to inform all registered Danes of gathering point, time and date. The final decision of whether to participate in the evacuation will always rest on the individual self, unless the Danish authorities decide otherwise. All participants would need to sign a statement of repayment to declare willingness to cover the expenses with regards to the evacuation.
It is emphasised that the Embassy can only advise the individual Dane on actions in possible cases of emergency and evacuations and therefore does not set any binding regulations.
In case of death of a family member in South Africa the Embassy can assist
Counselling and assistance
The Embassy or the consulate can also assist with cremation and/or home transport of urn or coffin – or a local funeral. The Embassy cannot pay the expenses for cremation, home transport or local funeral.
You should always be insured when travelling abroad. Only thereby are you assured that the expenses related to death, local funeral, home transport of urn or coffin to Denmark are covered.
Illness and accidents
In cases of illness or accidents you can get assistance from the Embassy but we cannot pay the expenses for you.
If you get ill or have an accident, the Embassy can help you to contact your insurance company and your family. We can also assist finding a doctor or a hospital that can treat you.
Expenses relating to illness, injury, death and transport back to Denmark can cost a fortune and ruin you and your family if you have forgotten to take out insurance.
The common Danish travel insurance (the yellow medical card) only covers Europe and neighboring countries, but not South Africa.
Please be aware that common travel insurance does not cover treatment of chronic ailments, which you had before departure and certain sport accident such as mountain climbing, diving and Sports flying. If you plan to participate in such activities you should take out an extended insurance.
South African law, and not Danish law, is in force in South Africa! The legal provisions and the punishments in South Africa are very different from Denmark. If you get arrested the embassy can refer you to a lawyer and make contact to relatives back in Denmark.
Obey the law
There are severe punishments in South Africa and the prisons are not very exciting. Possession of any kind of narcotics is strictly forbidden and can induce a hard imprisonment. Never assist anyone carrying something through custom. Do not take any photos near habours, airport, military installations etc.
A Danish citizen charged and imprisoned abroad for violating the law of the country of residence has the right to get in contact with a Danish embassy or consulate if the person wishes to.
In such cases the embassy/consulate will as quickly as possible determine whether the imprisoned requires assistance to contact a lawyer, relatives in Denmark or something else. If the imprisoned wishes so the embassy will make a visit to the prison and follow the court case.
However, according to the rules of International Law persons with dual citizenship can´t claim one state’s consular protection over the other nation, if the latter state refuses to accept this. Furthermore according to International Law, Demark does not have the right to give consular protection to persons without Danish citizenship, even though it is accepted to a certain degree in certain countries.
No support to cover expenses
The Foreign Ministry cannot defray expenses relating to private individuals court cases abroad. Expenses to legal assistance, extra support etc., have to be defrayed by the person in question. In practice it is only after guarantees from the bank institution of the person concerned or preceding payment from family or friends, that the embassy can defray such expenses.
No political interference
It is official Danish policy to encourage countries to build a constitutional state with a clear separation of the legislative power, judicial power and the executive power, where court of law and the prosecuting authority can work independently of political influence. Based on this it is not possible for the embassy to use political means and incite foreign authorities to deviate from such fundamental legal principles in order to favour Danish citizens.
Robbery and theft
If you have lost your money and papers the embassy can help you if you have a police report.
Take care of your money
If you lose your credit card or money and you can’t arrange a regular bank transfer the embassy can help you with a money transfer. However, only if there is somebody in Denmark who is willing to vouch for you.
It can be your family, friends, your bank, insurance company or employer, who must pay in the amount you need to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Copenhagen. Once the embassy receives a confirmation of the money transfer from the Foreign Ministry you will get the money paid out in the local currency.
The embassy can also process a money transfer without the intervention of the Ministry for Foreign Affairs. It requires a fax or mail with a guarantee from a Danish financial institution promising the repayment of the paid out amount and fees directly to the embassy.
Watch your papers
If you lose your danish passport the embassy or the nearst consulate can issue an emergency danish passport. Remember to bring a copy of your passport.
Please note that the provisionary passport is a time limited travel document. There is not the same degree of assurance that it will be recognized by foreign authorities, which is the case with a regular passport. The temporary Danish passport is above all issued to make a return to Denmark possible. The South African authorities recognizes the Danish Emergency Passport.
Police report and receipt
Have your passport, plane ticket or travel insurance got stolen or lost, remember to report the theft to the local police station and remember to get a receipt from the police. The embassy and your insurance company require the police report.
Danish credit cards can cancelled at PBS (Pengeinstitutternes betalings service) on phone +45 4489 2929 (24/7) or via your bank.