How does the Convention work?

The Central Authority in South Africa applies, on behalf of the applicant, to the Central Authority of the country to which the child has been taken. The requested Central Authority or their designated representative should on receipt of the application, take immediate steps to:

  • Discover the whereabouts of the child

  • Prevent any further harm to the child

  • Attempt to secure the voluntary return of the child, otherwise initiate or facilitate judicial or administrative proceedings in that country with a view to obtain the return of the child to South Africa or the securing of rights of access to the child

  • Provide or facilitate the provision of legal aid and advice

If a child has been wrongfully removed to South Africa or retained in South Africa , the Family Advocate, appointed as Central Authority, will receive the documents from the other country’s Central Authority. The Family Advocate will study the application and if the application is well founded in terms of the legislation, will effect proceedings to locate and return the minor child.


Signatory countries:

HAGUE CONVENTION OF 25 OCTOBER 1980 ON THE CIVIL ASPECTS OF INTERNATIONAL CHILD ABDUCTION
(entry into force on 1 December 1983 )

SOUTH AFRICA:     1 October 1997

Entry into force between South Africa and the following:

  • Albania (1 May 2016)
  • Andorra (1 May 2016)
  • Argentina ( 1 November 1998 )
  • Armenia (1 May 2016)
  • Australia ( 1 January 1998 )
  • Austria ( 1 March 2002 )
  • Belarus (1 May 2016)
  • Belgium ( 1 May 2003 )
  • Bulgaria (1 May 2016)
  • Canada ( 1 May 1999 )
  • Chile ( 1 June 1999 )
  • China , Hong Kong Special Administrative Region ( 1 December 1998 )
  • China , Macao Special Administrative Region ( 1 September 2003 )
  • Colombia ( 1 April 2001 )
  • Costa Rica (1 May 2016)
  • Cyprus ( 1 April 2004)
  • Czech Republic ( 1 August 1998 )
  • Denmark ( 1 June 2003 )
  • Dominican Republic (1 May 2016)
  • El Salvador (1 May 2016)
  • Estonia (1 May 2016)
  • Fiji (1 May 2016)
  • Finland ( 1 December 1997 )
  • Gabon (1 May 2016)
  • Georgia (1 May 2016)
  • Germany ( 1 February 1998 )
  • Greece ( 1 March 2000 )
  • Guatemala (1 May 2016)
  • Guinea (1 May 2016)
  • Hungary ( 1 June 2002 )
  • Ireland ( 1 December 1997 )
  • Israel ( 1 December 1997 )
  • Italy ( 1 August 2001 )
  • Kazakhstan (1 May 2016)
  • Latvia (1 May 2016)
  • Lesotho (1 May 2016)
  • Lithuania (1 May 2016)
  • Malta (1 May 2016)
  • Mexico ( 1 June 2001 )
  • Morocco (1 May 2016)
  • Netherlands (for the Kingdom in Europe ) ( 1 November 1997 )
  • New Zealand ( 1 March 1998)
  • Nicaragua (1 May 2016)
  • Norway ( 1 March 1998)
  • Paraguay (1 May 2016)
  • Poland ( 1 March 1998 )
  • Portugal ( 1 January 2002 )
  • Republic of Korea (1 May 2016)
  • Republic of Moldova (1 May 2016)
  • Russian Federation (1 May 2016)
  • San Marino (1 May 2016)
  • Serbia and Montenegro ( 1 November 2003 )
  • Seychelles (1 May 2016)
  • Singapore (1 May 2016)
  • Slovak Republic ( 1 February 2001 )
  • Spain ( 1 February 2000 )
  • Sri Lanka (1 May 2016)
  • Sweden ( 1 January 1998 )
  • Switzerland ( 1 August 1998 )
  • Thailand (1 May 2016)
  • Trinidad and Tobago (1 May 2016)
  • Turkmenistan (1 May 2016)
  • Ukraine (1 May 2016)
  • United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland* ( 1 December 1997 )
  • United States of America ( 1 November 1997)
  • Uruguay ( 1 June 2001 );
  • Uzbekistan (1 May 2016)
  • Zambia (1 May 2016)

* The United Kingdom made the following declaration with regard to the accession of South Africa to the Convention: "...notwithstanding the provisions of the said Article, the United Kingdom accepts the accession of South Africa ... with effect from 1 October 1997."

Reservation: South Africa will only accept documentation in English (no other language)

_____________________

Government Gazette

Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction: Acceptance by South Africa of countries that acceded to convention, GG 40058, GoN 695, 10 Jun 2016