Picture: Etienne Creux

PRETORIA - International Relations Minister Lindiwe Sisulu on Tuesday appealed to South Africans travelling across borders, particularly to China, to verify if their travel documents and visas are adequate, before making the trips.

She made the remarks as seven South African citizens, including 19-year-old Tristan-Lee Niemand, were released from prison in China's Jiangsu Province, and now face deportation, having completed their detention periods.

“I am happy that the ordeal is over for the families. Again, we urge our young people to make sure they have correct documents and to contact the embassies to verify any information they receive from recruitment agencies,” said Sisulu.
 
According to the department of international relations and cooperation (Dirco), South African diplomats in China will continue to liaise with the schools and local authorities to ensure that all arrangements for their [the seven] travel are finalised and they are on their way home "as soon as possible".

Dirco said Tristan-Lee Niemand's mother Stacey Lee-Niemand has been informed "of the latest positive developments".

Tristan-Lee Niemand is one of at least 100 South Africans detained in China over visa violations.

She has been detained in Nanjing City since November last year and her family, along with Dirco have been working tirelessly to bring her back home.

Her father Richard Bridger told the Cape Times that he had not had any contact with his daughter since she was detained.

He told the publication that his daughter took a job to teach English in China through an agency that promised they would get her a work visa. She was there with a student visa.

Dirco said Sisulu has also been informed that another eight South Africans who have been in distress in Zhejiang Province will be deported on 23 December, and arrangements for their travel will be coordinated as soon as they are released.

African News Agency (ANA)