Service Delivery Charter

 

Service Delivery Charter for the DIRCO Consular Section at the South African Embassy in Moscow, Russian Federation

1. Who are we?

We are the Department of International Relations and Cooperation (DIRCO) Consular Section at the South African Embassy in Moscow, Russia.

2. Where can we be found?

The South African Embassy is situated at Granatny Pereulok 1, building 9, Moscow 123001, Russia.


The Consular Section works in close collaboration with the Chief Directorate: Consular Services at the Department of International Relations and Cooperation in Pretoria, the Department of Home Affairs and other Government Departments not represented abroad. The services listed are often performed in conjunction with this Chief Directorate. The responsible consular official in Pretoria is Mr Alfred Brown and can be contacted at telephone number + 27 12 351 1252 or e-mail: BrownA@dirco.gov.za

Emergency consular services are available on a 24-hour basis. A consular official will be available to provide specialised guidance and assistance after hours and over weekends. Our after-hours emergency telephone number is +7 916-569-1112.

3. The services we provide:

In brief, Consular Services describe the services and assistance the Embassy is able to provide for South African citizens abroad. Our services are available on weekdays, Monday – Friday (excluding public holidays) during consular office hours 8:30-17:00. After hours services will only be rendered in the case of an emergency. Emergency consular services describe services rendered in the case of distress, serious illness or death of a South African citizen abroad, natural disasters and evacuation where South African citizens are involved. It excludes any enquiries of a general nature.

3.1 We provide the following services:

3.1.1    Protection and Assistance to South African Citizens Abroad:

  • We respond to emergencies (all situations involving health, safety, security and wellbeing of South African citizens abroad). This includes providing a support service in hostage cases as well as assistance in evacuation planning of South African citizens abroad in cases of political turmoil or natural disasters);

  • In the event of an emergency, we communicate on behalf of family and/or friends in South Africa with South African citizens abroad and vice versa;

  • We provide logistical support and non-financial assistance for repatriation and urgently needed medical or professional attention. Professional attention includes information regarding legal services available in the event of detention or threat of detention;

  • We notify the next of kin in the event of death: The consular official will immediately notify the consular officer at the Directorate: Consular Services who will notify the next of kin via the official channels;

  • We assist in the search for missing persons abroad and/or determination of the whereabouts of South African citizens abroad;

  • We assist South African citizens in distress by facilitating the payment of funds to these citizens deposited by family members or friends in South Africa. If family members are unable to assist, we provide assistance to apply for refundable, limited, financial assistance at the Department of Home Affairs;

  • Child Custody, including abductions and adoptions: We provide advice, guidance and support to a custodial parent/guardian. Where there is evidence that the health and safety of the child is in jeopardy, the matter is treated as an emergency;

  • Kidnapping and hostage taking covers forcible restrictions on the freedom of movement of all persons. All instances of kidnapping in Russia and Belarus will be reported to the Department of Foreign Affairs’ Operations Room immediately. We provide guidance and advice to affected citizens and their families;

  • We provide non-financial assistance and support to defrauded South African citizens and we report scams and other fraudulent activities to the South African Police Service;

  • We provide invigilation services to foreigners and South African citizens to write exams with registered South African academic institutions (i.e. UNISA exams).

  • We maintain a register of South African citizens residing in Russia. This register is kept to enable the Embassy to communicate with its citizens when necessary. You are encouraged to register with our office by completing the registration form online at http://www.dfa.gov.za/consular/index.html or by requesting a registration form to be forwarded to you.

3.1.2    Assistance to South African Citizens in Detention:

  • We establish and maintain contact with arrested South African citizens abroad with due observance of the law and regulations of the arresting State. This service is rendered to ensure that South Africans who have been arrested, detained or imprisoned under foreign jurisdictions understand their rights and the services that can be provided by the South African Government. Prisoners are defined as persons who have been tried, convicted and sentenced. Depending on specific circumstances, contact will be in person, in writing, by telephone or through appropriate intermediaries;

  • We endeavour to visit South African citizens in prison once every three months. However, distance, logistics and local circumstances will play a role;

  • We assist South African citizens in prison abroad by facilitating the payment of funds paid by family members or friends in South Africa;

  • We facilitate the delivery of letters and/or medication to South African prisoners abroad, sent by family and/or friends from South Africa, subject to the provisions and prevailing fees of the Department of Foreign Affairs as may be amended from time to time and also in compliance with the laws and regulations of the country of arrest/imprisonment.

3.1.3 Information – South Africa:

  • We provide information and advice to South Africans and foreigners on subjects regarding South Africa for which there are frequent requests. These subjects include but are not limited to customs regulations, civil aviation, taxation, pensions, social & legal services, travel, banking and education.

  • The information and advice will be of a general nature. This office is not in a position to provide specialised advice. The information will often be in the form of directives for the enquirer to the relevant department or institution. No private company will be favoured.

 

3.1.4 Information – Local:

  • We provide information and advice to South African citizens on subjects regarding Russia and Belarus for which there are frequent requests. These subjects include but are not limited to customs regulations, civil aviation, taxation, pensions, social and legal services, travel, banking and education.

  • The information and advice will be of a general nature. This office is not in a position to provide specialised advice. The information will often be in the form of directives for the enquirer to the relevant department or institution. No private company will be favoured.

 

3.1.5 Legal and Notary:

  • Upon instruction from the Department of Justice, this office formally transmits documents in private legal matters to the relevant authorities and/or individuals;

  • We act as a Commissioner of Oaths (South African documents only);

  • Service of Process and Maintenance Orders: We facilitate the process via judicial channels to have documents served on defendants abroad;

  • We facilitate other legal processes via judicial channels when requested to do so by the authorised authorities. These processes include but are not limited to requests for extradition, rogatory letters, edictal citations and evidence on commission.

 

3.2 You will be able to make use of these services by:

Contacting our office via any of the following means:

  1. In person, during consular hours by appointment only;

  2. By contacting our office at telephone No +7 (495) 926-1177 or fax No +7 (495) 926-1178;

  3. By mail. The address to be used is: Granatny Pereulok 1, building 9, 123001 Moscow, Russia.

  4. By e-mail at BarnardM@dirco.gov.za

  5. In the case of an after hours emergency only, you can reach the Consular Section by dialling +7 916-569-1112

 

3.3 Before requesting a service:

Each case determines the documents needed to enable this office to render assistance. A valid form of identification, i.e. identity document or passport, may be requested. When in doubt, you are advised to contact the office before requesting a service. It may save you time later. You can also visit our website at www.saembassy.rufor more information.

 

IMPORTANT NOTE

We do NOT provide the following services

Remove children without the assistance of the local authorities and without the authorisation of the court.

Instigate court proceedings or obtain legal advice on behalf of South African citizens.

Intervene in local judicial procedures to get South African citizens out of prison, on bail or an early trial.

Pay any expenses on behalf of citizens from State funds, i.e. medical bills, hotel or legal fees, air tickets, transport, food, funerals, cremation or return of mortal remains.

Obtain accommodation or any permits (i.e. work permits, study permits, etc) on behalf of South African citizens.

Conduct investigations related to an offence.

Support a South African citizen financially whilst in prison.

Travel to dangerous areas to visit prisoners/detainees or provide consular support in such cases.

Conduct a search without the assistance of local authorities or provide information regarding the whereabouts of a South African citizen without the express consent of that citizen.

Assist with the transfer of funds to a citizen who is not in distress.

 

4. Our service standards:

The Consular Section at the South African Embassy in Moscow is committed to providing an effective and efficient service to all our customers throughout the world, irrespective of national origin, age, gender or religious orientation. Our commitment is to service that can be clearly determined and measured at all times in terms of sensitivity, empathy, courtesy, speed, accuracy and fairness.

We commit ourselves to the principles of service delivery (consultation, service standards, access, courtesy, information, openness & transparency, redress and value for money) and will indicate to you as our customers what you can expect from us with regard to service delivery standards.

The services listed in the Schedules are meant to be generic and the listing is not intended as a definitive itemisation of the range of requests that consular staff are expected to respond to. The listings will be reviewed from time to time in order to keep it current with changing conditions.

The reaction times provided in the minimum operational standards are targets based on best efforts and existing conditions. Our ability to meet the stated times in the Service Delivery Standards are, in many instances, governed by factors that are beyond our control. Notwithstanding, we will make every effort to meet the stated standard. When it is not possible to do so, we will explain to our customers the reasons for not being able to meet the required standards.

It is very important to note that during times of emergencies and disasters these matters will receive preference. During such periods all other consular services rendered may be limited and the timeframes set out in the standards may not be met.

4.1 We have set the following minimum professional standards for the level and quality of services we provide:

  • We serve all customers in an unbiased, polite, helpful and impartial manner;

  • We dress appropriately and professionally, respecting our customers;

  • All members of the public are treated as customers who are entitled to receive high standards of service;

  • We are punctual in the execution of our duties and are committed to timely service;

  • We co-operate fully with other employees to advance the public interest. We share information, work as a team to maintain the standards and to achieve our objectives;

  • We execute all reasonable instructions by persons officially assigned to issue them;

  • We execute our duties in a professional, competent and accountable manner;

  • We honour the confidentiality of matters, documents and discussions;

  • We take responsibility for our own work and the work and workflow of the Embassy as a whole;

  • All services rendered shall be communicated to customers in English or the official language of Russia. If a South African customer wishes to be served in any of the other official languages, every attempt will be made to find an employee in the Embassy to assist in customer’s language of choice;

  • All effort is made to avoid error. Accuracy of at least 90% is guaranteed;

  • The Consular Section is in continuous consultation with relevant role-players to ensure that information provided to the public is correct and up to date. Information provided by this section is reliable subject only to the accuracy and timeousness of data received from outside agencies;

  • In order to provide the best possible service to our customers, an employee deal with one customer/case/telephone enquiry at a time, giving the customer his/her full attention during this period;

  • Our consular hours are from 8:00h to 17:00h, Mondays to Fridays (excluding public holidays). These restricted hours do not apply to South Africans requiring emergency services. Members of the consular staff will respond to persons telephoning the emergency telephone number requesting emergency services, regardless of the time;

  • The Vienna Convention on Consular Relations, 1963 includes corporate customers within its ambit. As such, South African corporate legal entities are entitled to consular services in the same manner as individuals, exclusive of intervention in commercial, civil or criminal disputes where recourse to recognised legal recourse is available.

4.2 We have set the following minimum operational standards for the level and quality of services we provide in terms of Consular Services:

 

 

SERVICE

TIME

Consular Protection & Assistance:

 

Respond to emergencies

Immediately

Communications with family and/or friends in the event of an emergency

12 Hours

Assistance for repatriation, urgently required medical or professional attention

24 Hours

Notification of next of kin in the event of death (through Head Office)

Immediately

Notification of next of kin in the event of life-threatening illness or injury

Immediately

Assist in search for missing persons

12 Hours

Facilitating financial transfers and/or applications for financial assistance

24 Hours

Provide advice & guidance regarding child custody, abduction & adoption

24 Hours

Reporting of and providing guidance & support regarding kidnapping

Immediately

Reporting of and providing of assistance and support to defrauded citizens

12 Hours

Provide invigilation services for South African exams

As required

Maintain a register of South African citizens in the Russian Federation.

Continuous

Prisoners:

 

Contact with prisoners

Currently not applicable

Facilitate the payment of funds paid by family/friends in South Africa

Currently not applicable

Facilitate the delivery of letters and/or medication to prisoners

Currently not applicable

Information (South Africa) –Requests for information & advice on:

 

Customs regulations

72 Hours

Civil aviation

72 Hours

Taxation

72 Hours

Pensions

72 Hours

Social and legal services

72 Hours

Travel

24 Hours

Banking

72 Hours

Education

72 Hours

Information (Local) –Requests for information & advice on:

 

Customs regulations

72 Hours

Civil aviation

72 Hours

Taxation

72 Hours

Pensions

72 Hours

Social and legal services

72 Hours

Travel

24 Hours

Banking

72 Hours

Education

72 Hours

Legal and Notary:

 

Transmit documents in private legal matters

72 Hours

Act as a Commissioner of Oaths

By appointment

Legalisation: Authenticate signatures of Foreign Ministry officials

By appointment

Facilitate Services of Process and Maintenance Orders

72 Hours

Facilitate other legal processes

72 Hours

Ad hoc Consular Support Services

72 Hours

Time refers to response time during working days and may be subject to factors beyond our control. Each consular case develops according to its own dynamics and complexity. We facilitate the process but the exact timeframe for completing a case cannot be pre-determined.


4.3 Our performance against our standards:

A record is kept of the number of documents and cases processed each day, the number of errors and complaints received. Corrective measures will be taken. A complaints/suggestion box has been placed at Reception. Alternatively the customer can contact the Head of Management at e-mail addressBarnardM@dirco.gov.za or telephonically at +7 (495) 926-1177. We will respond to all complaints and suggestions received within one week of receipt thereof. We welcome comments and suggestions on our service and its quality.

In return we expect the public to be civil and courteous and to respect the dignity of our officials at all times.