Twist To South African Student Missing In China
19 February 2020
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a person posing for the camera: Alfa Mpetsheni Picture: Facebook
Alfa Mpetsheni Picture: Facebook

Cape Town – There has been a twist in the case involving the whereabouts of Alfa Mpetsheni as his family in Gauteng have been informed that their son is being detained.

This latest information comes after the Chinese Embassy in South Africa claimed he boarded a flight to Bangkok, Thailand.

Mpetsheni has been studying in China and his mother Nokuthula last spoke to him on WeChat on January 18, while his friends last saw him on January 15, his father Thulani said.

Following their worrying over his whereabouts, his family reached out to the authorities and according to the embassy, Alfa boarded a flight.

In new developments this week, Thulani said the Department of International Relations (Dirco) emailed them on Friday to tell them that he was found in Shanghai.

“Dirco informed us that the South African Consulate in Shanghai found that Alfa was detained by the Shanghai Security Bureau.

“The consulate was given a chance to speak to him on the phone and apparently Alfa told them he was instructed to tell them what charges he faced,” he said.

Thulani said the family was concerned because they did not know whether he was imprisoned.

“I don’t know what is really happening, something is just not right.

“In the initial stages of the search, there were rumours that he was detained in prison.

“We requested the consulate to investigate and the authorities in China allegedly informed them they had no South African in custody.

“So where was he before?

“The consulate will write to Shanghai authorities to request that they see him because we are worried about his well-being,” Thulani said.

The embassy did not respond to questions.

Dirco spokesperson Lunga Ngqengelele said they could neither confirm nor deny that Alfa was detained.

“The only people we can share information with regarding Alfa Mpetsheni is his family, and we are in constant communication with them.

“It is up to the family to share our findings with the media or public.

“There will be no statements issued by Dirco. We are trying to resolve this issue the best way we can,” said Ngqengelele.

Cape Times