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SA citizens arrested daily in China over visa issues, says Dirco official

Fifteen South Africans, including Tristan Lee Niemand, will be deported back to South Africa before Christmas after being detained for visa irregularities.

Detention facility where South African Tristan Lee Niemand was held in Nanjing, China. Picture: Supplied

CAPE TOWN – The South African government says it's citizens are arrested in China on a daily basis.

This as East London teenager, Tristan Lee Niemand, is released following her arrest for visa violations last month.

The 19-year-old and 14 other South Africans will be deported back to South Africa before Christmas.

The Department of International Relations and Cooperation's Ndivhuwo Mabaya says: "It happens every day. As I’m speaking to you now, I’m sure there’s somebody on the plane going to China to be detained.

“It happens mainly because a lot of young people who have done teaching or other subjects are finding opportunities there because with the Chinese expanding the whole continent and other places, they need English and South African English is very good.”

Charl Venter, whose son was also detained in China 6 months ago, along with 50 others, says he's assisted the Niemand family.

“We’re very happy that it actually happened prior to Christmas so that at least the kids can spend some Christmas time at home.

“But it’s just more of pressure time for people to know that this is not the time to take the gaps to try and go over to China without proper paperwork.”

Venter is hoping to accompany International Relations and Cooperation Minister Lindiwe Sisulu when she meets her Chinese counterpart to address this issue.

(Edited by Leeto M Khoza)

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