South AfricaOfficial Name: Republic of South Africa
Embassies and Consulates
1 Sandton Drive (opposite Sandton City Mall)
Telephone: (27-11) 290-3000 (from South Africa 011-290-3000)
Emergency Telephone: (011) 290-3000 or 079-111-1684 (outside South Africa: 27 79-111-1684)
Fax: (27-11) 884-0396 (from South Africa (011-884-0396)
U.S. Consulate General Cape Town
2 Reddam Avenue, West Lake 7945,
Cape Town, South Africa
Telephone: (27-21) 702-7300 (from South Africa 021-702-7300)
Emergency Telephone: 021-702-7300 (outside of Africa 27 702-7300)
Fax: (27-21) 702-7493 (from South Africa 021-702-7493)
U.S. Consulate General Durban
303 Dr. Pixley KaSeme Street (formerly West Street)
31st Floor Old Mutual Centre
Telephone: (27-31) 305-7600 (from South Africa 031-305-7600)
Emergency Telephone: (031) 305-7600 or 079-111-1445 (outside South Africa: 27 079-111-1445)
Fax: (27-31) 305-7691 (from South Africa 031-305-7691)
U.S. Embassy Pretoria
877 Pretorius Street, Arcadia
Telephone: (27-12) 431-4000 (from South Africa 012-431-4000)
Emergency Telephone: Please contact the closest Consulate.
Fax: (27-12) 342-2299 or (27-12) 431-5504 (from South Africa 012-431-5504)
South Africa and the United States have been treaty partners under the 1980 Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction Convention (Hague Abduction Convention) since November 1, 1997.
For information concerning travel to South Africa including information about the location of the U.S. Embassy, the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program, entry/exit requirements, safety and security, crime, medical facilities and health information, traffic safety, road conditions and aviation safety, please see country-specific information for South Africa.
Hague Abduction Convention
The U.S. Department of State serves as the U.S. Central Authority (USCA) for the Hague Abduction Convention. In this capacity, the Department’s Bureau of Consular Affairs, Directorate for Overseas Citizen Services, Office of Children’s Issues, facilitates the submission of applications under the Hague Abduction Convention for the return of, or access to, children located in countries that are U.S. treaty partners, including South Africa. Parents are strongly encouraged to contact the Department of State for assistance prior to initiating the Hague process directly with the foreign Central Authority.
United States Department of State
Bureau of Consular Affairs
Office of Children’s Issues
SA-17, 9th Floor
Washington, DC 20522-1709
Outside the United States or Canada: 1-202-501-4444
The South African Central Authority for the Hague Abduction Convention is the Office of the Family Advocate. The South African Central Authority (SACA) has an administrative role in processing Hague Abduction Convention applications. They forward completed Hague applications to the appropriate Family Advocate attached to the High Court in the jurisdiction where the defendant resides. The Advocate informs the taking-parent of the petition and, if appropriate, seeks a voluntary return. If the taking-parent does not agree to a return, the Advocate files the petition with the High Court. The Children’s Act of 2010 requires SACA to appoint an attorney ad litem for the child/ren for Hague proceedings; you can find more information here.
They can be reached at:
Office of the Chief Family Advocate
Central Authority for the Republic of South Africa
Room 9.36 West Tower
Momentum City Walk
c/o Prinsloo & Pretorius Streets
Private Bag X81
Republic of South Africa
Telephone: 27 (12) 357 8022
Fax: 27 (12) 357 8043
e-mail : PeSeabi@justice.gov.za
Internet: Office of the Chief Family Advocate
To initiate a Hague case for return of, or access to, a child in South Africa, the left-behind parent or legal guardian must submit a Hague application and the original or certified supporting documents to the SACA. The USCA is available to answer questions about the Hague application process, to forward a completed application to the South African Central Authority, and to subsequently monitor its progress through the foreign administrative and legal processes.
There are no fees for filing Hague applications with either the United States or the South African Central Authority. Attorney fees, if necessary, are the responsibility of the applicant parent. Additional costs are the responsibility of the applicant parent, and may include airplane tickets for court appearances and for the return of the child, if so ordered.
A parent or legal guardian may file an application under the Hague Abduction Convention for return to the United States of a child abducted to, or wrongfully retained in, South Africa. The U.S. Department of State can assist parents living in the United States to understand whether the Convention is an available civil remedy and can provide information on the process for submitting a Hague application.
A person may file an application under the Hague Abduction Convention for access to a child living in South Africa. The criteria for acceptance of a Hague access application vary from country to country. The U.S. Department of State can assist parents living in the United States to understand country-specific criteria and provide information on the process for submitting a Hague application.
Retaining an Attorney
It is not necessary for a left-behind parent to retain a private attorney for Hague Abduction Convention proceedings. The Family Advocate will present an application on behalf of the left-behind parent to the South African court for the child’s return; the Advocate represents the petition, not the petitioner. A parent has the option of hiring a private attorney instead of using an appointed Family Advocate. The U.S. Embassy in Pretoria, South Africa posts lists of attorneys, including those who specialize in family law.
This list is provided as a courtesy service only and does not constitute an endorsement of any individual attorney. The Department of State assumes no responsibility or liability for the professional ability or reputation of, or the quality of services provided by, the following persons or firms. Professional credentials and areas of expertise are provided directly by the lawyers.
Mediation through the Office of the Family Advocate is available to families with a divorce case pending in the South African court system.
We strongly discourage taking matters into your own hands. The measures could be illegal and may delay your child’s return. Attempts to re-abduct your child from the United States may:
- Endanger your child and others;
- Prejudice any future judicial efforts you might wish to make in the United States; and
- Could even result in your arrest and imprisonment.
Finally, there is no guarantee that the chain of abductions would end with the one committed by you. A parent who has re-abducted a child may have to go to extraordinary lengths to conceal his or her whereabouts, living in permanent fear that the child may be re-abducted yet again.
If you are contemplating such desperate measures, we advise you to consider the emotional trauma inflicted on a child who is a victim of an abduction and a re-abduction. We discourage re-abduction not only because it is illegal, but also because of possible psychological harm to the child.
DISCLAIMER: The information in this flyer is provided for general information only, is not intended to be legal advice, and may change without notice. Questions involving interpretation of law should be addressed to an attorney licensed in the relevant jurisdiction.
Assistance for U.S. Citizens
U.S. Consulate General Johannesburg
1 Sandton Drive (opposite Sandton City Mall)
- Telephone (27-11) 290-3000 (from South Africa 011-290-3000)
- Emergency Telephone (011) 290-3000 or 079-111-1684 (outside South Africa: 27 79-111-1684)
- Fax (27-11) 884-0396 (from South Africa (011-884-0396)
- Email firstname.lastname@example.org
- U.S. Consulate General Johannesburg