Sisulu: 'Every effort being made to assist South Africans detained abroad'

A fifth of the South Africans in foreign jails have been convicted of drug offenses in South American countries and at least 98 people are being held in China on alleged visa irregularities.

FILE: Minister of International Relations and Cooperation Ms Lindiwe Sisulu. Picture: Dirco

PRETORIA - As the festive season approaches, Minister of International Relations and Cooperation Lindiwe Sisulu has expressed serious concern for the more than 800 South African detains abroad.

She says every effort is made to ensure they have consular access.

A fifth of the South Africans in foreign jails have been convicted of drug offenses in South American countries. At least 98 people are being held in China on alleged visa irregularities.

Sisulu says officials are in touch with the family of English teacher Tristan Lee Niemand, who has been denied consular access where she held in Jiangsu on visa offences.

Sisulu urges South Africans planning to teach English in China to check with authorities that they have the correct documentation.

South Africans have been urged to familiarise themselves with details of South African diplomatic missions in their countries of destination and to contact Dirco for assistance at 012 351 1000.

(Edited by Shimoney Regter)