Teenager Tristan-Lee Niemand and another six South Africans have been released from prison in China and will be deported to South Africa, the Department of International Relations (Dirco) said on Tuesday.
“The South African mission in Shanghai has informed the Minister of International Relations and Cooperation Lindiwe Sisulu that the seven South African nationals in Jiangsu province have completed their detention period and will be released and deported back to South Africa,” department spokesperson Ndivhuwo Mabaya said.
The 19-year-old’s plight was brought to Dirco’s attention when her parents launched a public appeal for her release.
The school that employed the seven as English teachers has now been tasked with providing them with return tickets for the flight on which they are to be deported.
They are expected to return to South Africa before Friday. The teachers’ relatives have also been informed of their release.
Niemand, who was planning to teach English in the country, was arrested on November 16 for having the incorrect visa to teach English in the city of Nanjing.
“The minister has also been informed that another eight South Africans who have been in distress in Zhejiang province will be deported on Sunday and arrangements for their travel will be coordinated as soon as they are released,” Mabaya said.
He said Sisulu appealed to South Africans planning to travel to China and other countries to ensure they have the correct visas and required travel documents.
“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,” Sisulu said.
South African diplomats in China will continue to liaise with the schools and local authorities to ensure arrangements for their travel are finalised, Mabaya said.