Media Statement

24 June 2021

South Africa contacts French authorities following the ill treatment of opera star Pretty Yende

The South African Government has noted with concern the manner in which acclaimed international opera singer, Pretty Yende, was treated at the Charles De Gaulle International Airport in Paris, France, on Monday, 21 June 2021.

The South African Embassy in Paris has written to French authorities seeking an explanation and requesting a thorough investigation into the matter. This is after Ms Yende was detained by French Police at the airport for almost three hours based on an allegation that her Italian residence permit was not valid. Her Long-term EU resident status, issued on 16/02/2015 by the Police Headquarters in Milan and with unlimited validity is provided by article 9 of the Consolidated Immigration Act (Legislative Decree 286/98) and regularly issued in accordance with European Directive 2003/109/EC, implemented by Italy and France and containing the common guidelines for the issuance of such residence permits with unlimited validity.

Ms Yende informed the South African Embassy in Paris that she was verbally abused by the police and her rights and dignity were violated during the ordeal.

The unfortunate incident took place during Ms Yende’s return to Paris to perform at the Théâtre des Champs-Élysées.

Further to the correspondence by the South African Embassy in Paris, the Department of International Relations and Cooperation will demarche the French Ambassador to South Africa, based in Pretoria to convey its displeasure at the treatment of Ms Yende.

Enquiries: Mr Clayson Monyela, Spokesperson for DIRCO, 082 884 5974


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