Minister Lindiwe Sisulu appealed to South Africans intending to travel to other countries to familiarise themselves with the laws of that country. Picture: Supplied/Dirco/Katlholo Maifadi

Pretoria - International Relations Minister Lindiwe Sisulu on Monday appealed to South Africans intending to travel to other countries to familiarise themselves with the laws in those foreign nations before travelling.

“We have had a number of cases affecting South Africans travelling, with the recent case involving [South African journalist] Angela Quintal and her colleague, Muthoki Mumo, who were detained in Tanzania last week. Our appeal is that we must make sure that we familiarise ourselves with the laws of the country we intend to visit,” Sisulu told journalists in Pretoria.

"That is why we launched the Travel Smart Campaign with the intention of raising awareness on what we can do or we can’t do when we travel abroad. We have a 24-hour Call Centre to assist those South Africans who find themselves in distress while travelling abroad. The number is 012-351-1000."

Following an international outcry and negative media headlines in the wake of the arrest of Quintal and Mumo -- who are with the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) -- the Tanzanian authorities have attempted to justify the pair's detention, claiming the two misrepresented their intentions for visiting Tanzania.

The journalists were detained on Wednesday by Tanzanian immigration officials while on a reporting mission for the CPJ. They were eventually released by the authorities to their hotel in Dar es Salaam but their passports were withheld.

Following an international outcry, including from the United States State Department, and the intervention of the department for international relations and cooperation (Dirco), their passports were returned and the women were allowed to leave the country.

The crux of Tanzania’s immigration department’s defence was that the women on arrival in the country never informed immigration officials that they were there to carry out a journalism investigation and that prior to contacting local journalists they should have first contacted the authorities.

African News Agency (ANA)