The Department of International Relations and Cooperation (Dirco) has confirmed that authorities in China have started releasing the passports of 51 South Africans who were stranded in China.

The group used a travel agency to get their visas to China but were arrested for visa irregularities.

They went to China to teach English.

Dirco says they are expected to arrive back in South Africa from Monday.

Spokesperson for Dirco Ndivhuwo Mabaya says the Chinese authority has started releasing the passports. “Some of the young people will start arriving from Monday, and they will continue to arrive for the rest of the week. Some will depart Tuesday.”

“These kinds of incidents can be avoided, and we are calling on South Africans to make sure when they travel… We know the documents that are required, where they are going, they must understand the rules of those countries so that we don’t find ourselves in a situation like this.”