What are Consular Services
Contact Details
  Current Issues
Deaths Abroad
Arrested Abroad
Consular Notarial Services (Legalisation of Official (Public) Documents)
End User Certificates
Service Delivery Charter
SA Representation Abroad
Foreign Representation in SA
SA Missions: Commissioner of Oaths
 

 

Advice to South African Citizens in the Event a South African Dies Abroad

Introduction / What are the options for the next of kin of a deceased South African? / Return of mortal remains to South Africa / Cremation and the return of the ashes to South Africa / Local burial / Pauper's burial / Documentary Requirements: Mortal Remains / Contacts

Introduction

The Department, in collaboration with its Representatives abroad, provide logistical assistance and advice to the next of kin in the event of the death of a South African citizen abroad.

The assistance includes:

  • obtaining a permit for importing mortal remains from the Department of Health

  • placing family members into contact with reputable undertakers, and

  • obtaining quotes for the transportation of the mortal remains and/or cremation and/or local burial, if so requested by the next of kin.

  • providing information on local conditions and procedures affecting the deceased. It should be borne in mind that the manner in which someone dies can affect how the local authorities handle the case.

In the event the deceased had travel insurance, it is recommended that the insurer be contacted first to establish whether the deceased is covered in case of death.

The South African Government does not render any financial assistance pertaining to the death of South African citizens abroad. The financial transaction for the importation of mortal remains, local burial or cremation and return of the ashes may only be done via a commercial institution such as a bank. The money must be transferred directly to the undertaker in the country concerned.


What are the options for the next of kin of a deceased South African?

It is a shock to receive the news of the death of a loved one and usually the first thought of the next of kin is to bring the mortal remains back to South Africa. However, the following options can be considered:

(a) The return of mortal remains to South Africa

(b) Cremation and return of the ashes to South Africa

(c) Local Burial

(d) Pauper’s burial (free of any charges)

The South African Representative will assist with obtaining quotes to enable the next of kin to make an informed decision.

If using an undertaker it is important to note that the rendering of services are subject to payment.

Practice differs from country to country and this will influence the process. The South African Representative or the Department will provide guidance.


Return of mortal remains to South Africa

When a body is returned there are strict conditions for its transportation. The preparation of the mortal remains and the transport costs make this the most expensive option.

Before making any decision in this regard, unless covered by travel insurance, the next of kin must get quotes from undertakers in the foreign country. The South African Representative can assist.

The requirements for the transportation of mortal remains are:

  • Non-infectious mortal remains:

    • The body must be embalmed. This must take place within 24 hours. Not all countries have embalming facilities;
    • The body must be sealed in an airtight container and placed in a sturdy non-transparent coffin;
    • The import permit must be obtained prior to transportation.

  • Infectious mortal remains:

    • The body must be placed in a polythene bag;
    • The body must be placed in a second polythene bag;
    • The body must then be sealed in an airtight container and placed in a sturdy non-transparent coffin;
    • Under no circumstances may the coffin be opened;
    • A written statement from the medical practitioner that the body will not constitute a danger to public health and that the body is screened off according to regulation o R2438 of 30 October 1987, paragraphs 9 and 10 (Conveyance of bodies of persons who have died of communicable diseases) must accompany the body at all times, together with the death certificate;
    • The import permit must be obtained prior to transportation.

The South African Representative must provide the following documentation to the Department of Health before an import permit can be issued:

  • A letter containing the name of the deceased; date of death; country of death; cause of death; place of burial; telephone/fax numbers and area code.

  • Embalming certificate (if not possible due to religious reasons this must be stated);

  • Letter from attending pathologist or medical doctor to state that the deceased did not suffer from an infectious disease at the time of death; OR

  • If the deceased did suffer from an infectious disease, a letter from the medical practitioner indicating that the transportation will not constitute a danger to public health.

  • All documents not in English must be accompanied by a certified translation.
When all the requirements are met the Department of Health issues an Import Permit which accompanies the mortal remains to South Africa.


Cremation and return of the ashes to South Africa

The next of kin can opt for a cremation and the return of the ashes.

The undertaker in the foreign country can render this service. The South African Representative can attend the cremation if the next of kin wants a witness to the proceedings and are unable to attend in person.

Ashes are dealt with according to the local custom in the foreign country.  No importation permit is needed to return ashes to South Africa.


Local burial

The next of kin can opt for burial in the foreign country.

The undertaker in the foreign country can render this service. The South African Representative can attend the burial if the next of kin wants a witness to the proceedings and are unable to attend in person.

The exact location of the grave will be provided to the next of kin.


Pauper's burial

If the next of kin cannot be traced or if they do not have the financial means to consider any of the above options a pauper's burial can be requested.

The local authorities will then take the mortal remains of the deceased and deal with the mortal remains according to local legislation. The South African Representative can attend the proceedings if the next of kin are unable to attend in person.

The exact location of the grave, if buried, will be provided to the next of kin.

Once the next of kin made a decision, an affidavit must be signed and forwarded to the Department, Chief Directorate Consular Services.

Documentary Requirements: Mortal Remains

NO PERMIT IS NEEDED TO IMPORT ASHES FOR A BODY THAT HAS BEEN CREMATED

IMPORTATION OF MORTAL REMAINS

DOCUMENTS NEEDED FOR IMPORTATION (NON-INFECTIOUS AND INFECTIOUS):

1. A Death Certificate clearly stating the cause of death.  If the cause of death is unknown, a permit will not be issued.  In the case of an infectious disease, an autopsy report is also required.

2. ID document / Passport. Copy of the deceased SA passport or id certified by the relevant mission.

3. Embalming Certificate clearly stating in the case of:

  • Non-Infectious – That the remains were embalmed, sealed in an airtight container and placed in a sturdy non-transparent coffin.
  • Infectious – That the remains were embalmed, placed in a polythene bag, placed in a second polythene bag, sealed in an airtight container and placed in a sturdy non-transparent coffin.

4. If embalming cannot be done due to religious reasons, please include a statement of the alternative that will be used to ensure the safe transportation of the remains.

5. A written statement from a medical practitioner that the remains will not constitute a danger to public health.

6. A non-infectious disease certificate.

7. Letter from the family member requesting importation.  If the deceased died while on business for their employer and the employer will be handling the transportation of the remains, a letter from the employer must be attached explaining the situation.

8. If the documents are not in English, a certified translation must be attached.

9. A covering letter from the South African Representative that includes:

  • Name of deceased
  • Date of death
  • Cause of death
  • Country of death
  • Place of burial
  • Full contact numbers including dailing codes

Please note:

  • That the Department of Health does not deal with undertakers directly.  Only documents from the Department of International Relations and Cooperation or the South African Representative will be accepted.
  • This includes transit through South Africa.
  • No importation permit is needed if the remains are cremated.  The death certificate, cremation certificate and a copy of the deceased identification to accompany the ashes at all times.

  • Please note that the next of kind must complete an affidavit selecting option to return mortal remains to SA signed by commissioner of oaths with certified copy of id/SA passport of the NOK who signed affidavit.


CONTACT DETAILS FOR THE NATIONAL DEPARTMETN OF HEALTH


National Department of Health
Directorate:  Environmental Health

Ms Maria Mabaso
Tel: 012 395 9677
Fax number: 012 395 8802
E-mail: MasekM@health.gov.za

Mr Murdock Ramathuba
Tel: 012 395 8518
Cell: 082 304 5002
Fax number: 012 395 8802
E-mail: RamatM@health.gov.za

Ms Pam Nkabinde
Tel: 012 395 8520
Cell: 073 609 5433
Fax number: 012 395 8802
E-mail: NkabiP@health.gov.za

IMPORTATION/EXPORTATION OF HUMAN REMAINS

Please note that this function has been delegated to the Provincial Departments of Health.  This also includes the exhumation, importation and exportation of mortal remains.

The contact details per Province are:

PROVINCE:              WESTERN CAPE

OFFICIAL
TEL
CELL
FAX
E-MAIL
Mr R Clayton

021 928 1503

021 928 1500

072 448 5069 021 928 1560 Ryan.clayton@westerncape.gov.za

 PROVINCE:              NORTH WEST

OFFICIAL
TEL
CELL
FAX
E-MAIL
Mr OMR Mokate 018 397 2685 082 578 4061 018 397 2694 omokate@nwpg.gov.za
Mr KA Masibi 018 381 7800 082 871 9762 018 381 4704 KabeloM@nwpg.gov.za
Mr M Greyling 018 642 9700 082 388 0893 018 642 2970 GreylingM@nwpg.gov.za
Mr TT Baloyi 014 591 9300 083 765 1691 014 597 3667 TBaloyi@nwpg.gov.za
Mr MC Moagi 018 384 4973 082 805 3817 086 634 8248 monnatlanaM@nwpg.gov.za
Mr BE Seboko 053 994 2590 078 329 2243 053 994 2506 BSeboko@nwpg.gov.za
Ms S Nel 018 464 2210 072 175 6109 018 462 4623 SNel@nwpg.gov.za

PROVINCE:              FREE STATE

OFFICIAL
TEL
CELL
FAX
E-MAIL
Mr TA Molapo Motheo District 051 447 2194 073 234 3120 051 408 1074 molapoTA@fshealth.gov.za
Ms SF Ferguson Xhariep District 051 773 0053 083 381 9965 051 773 0053 fergusonSF@fshealth.gov.za
Ms G De Wet Lejweleputswa District 057 910 3240 082 785 8567   dwetGA@fshealth.gov.za
Mr LC Swanepoel Fezile Dabi District 056 216 3316 072 450 1755 056 215 1673
056 212 1406
SwanepLC@fshealth.gov.za
Mr T Mofokeng Thabo Mofutsanyana District 058 713 0515
058 713 0135
058 713 0143
083 410 9496 058 713 0318 MofokenT@fshealth.gov.za
Mr JM Mokgatle Provincial Office 051 408 1540/1 083 483 0203 058 304 2947 mokgatlm@fshealth.gov.za

PROVINCE:              GAUTENG

OFFICIAL
TEL
CELL
FAX
E-MAIL
Mr A Marumo Gauteng 011 355 3479 082 448 3151 011 355 3171 Albert.marumo@gauteng.gov.za
Mr O Jacobs OR Tambo Airport 011 394 3605 082 372 0556 011 390 3003 Ockert.Jacobs@gauteng.gov.za
Mr D Moaung Lanseria Airport 011 701 3309 082 417 9960 011 701 3447 Motsepe.Motaung@gauteng.gov.za

PROVINCE:              LIMPOPO

OFFICIAL
TEL
CELL
FAX
M Mohapi 015 293 6199 078 457 9273 015 293 6281
SL Simba 015 293 6199 084 550 8551 015 293 6281
NE Ramatla 078 802 1931 072 273 8893 015 293 6281
W Last 014 767 2993 082 333 8465 014 767 2922 /
086 715 4439
D Ramuthugi 083 253 8474 073 128 7609 015 530 0010

PROVINCE:              MPUMALANGA

OFFICIAL
TEL
CELL
FAX
E-MAIL
Mrs C Swart 013 766 3448 082 820 7950 086 549 2969 Careens@social.mpu.gov.za
Mr S Mkhabela 013 766 3449 079 697 5430

086 549 2969

Stanleymk@social.mpu.gov.za
Mr Z Zikalala 013 766 3107 082 940 3665 086 549 2969 zitheloz@social.mpu.gov.za

PROVINCE:     KWAZULU NATAL

OFFICIAL
TEL
FAX
E-MAIL
Ms A Hargreaves 033 846 7506 033 846 7272 Antoinette.hargreaves@kznhealth.gov.za
Ms GD Naidoo 031 301 0381 031 301 0385 Debbie.naidoo@kznhealth.gov.za

PROVINCE:              NORTHERN CAPE

OFFICIAL
TEL
CELL
FAX
E-MAIL
Mr DJ Stander 053 830 0540 083 449 4322 053 830 0667 dstander@ncpg.gov.za
Mr MF Motlatla 053 830 0539   053 830 0667 mmotlatla@ncpg.gov.za


Contacts

South African Representatives abroad

Department of International Relations and Cooperation, Chief Directorate Consular Services.

This consular site is constantly under construction to add value and improve consular services to South African citizens. For more information and enquiries please contact the Chief Directorate Consular Services or the Webmaster.

To add value and improve consular services to the public, this consular site is constantly under construction. For consular related services, information and enquiries you are not able to find on this site, please contact the Chief Directorate Consular Services or the Webmaster.

Last updated: 14 May 2014

Disclaimer | Contact Us | HomeLast Updated: 5 October, 2015 2:35 PM
This site is best viewed using 800 x 600 resolution with Internet Explorer 5.0, Netscape Communicator 4.5 or higher.
2003 Department of Foreign Affairs, Republic of South Africa