Chinese authorities will release the remaining citizens detained without charge in Inner Mongolia and deport them, according to South Africa’s Department of International Relations and Cooperation.
“The remaining five South African citizens still being held in China will be released and deported tomorrow,” Clayson Monyela, a spokesman for the department, said on Twitter on Friday. China is South Africa’s biggest trading partner.
Twenty South African, British and Indian nationals were detained July 10 at an airport in Erdos, Inner Mongolia, about 700 kilometers (435 miles) west of Beijing. The brother, aunt and uncle of Vodacom Group Ltd. Chief Executive Officer Shameel Joosub were among those taken into captivity, the Johannesburg-based mobile-phone company said. China was investigating some of the group over possible involvement in a terrorist organization, DIRCO said on Thursday.
South African Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa is in Beijing for talks with ministers and business executives. The relationship between the two countries includes South African Airways’ partnership with Air China, while China Development Corp. agreed to a $2.5 billion loan to South Africa’s state-owned rail and ports operator earlier this year.
“It’s a huge relief that the remaining members of the tour group have been released by the Chinese authorities,” Joosub said in an e-mailed statement.’’