There are now 1062 South Africans – 702 men and 360 women – in jail in 59 foreign countries.
The Department of International Relations and Cooperation says the number reflects known cases where citizens exercised their right to request consular assistance in terms of the 1963 Vienna Convention on Consular Relations.
In answer to a question by Democratic Alliance shadow international relations minister Kenneth Mabu, the department said 691 of these prisoners – some 65% – were being detained for drug related offences.
The largest number was Brazil (177), where all but three were incarcerated for drugs offences. Next is the United Kingdom with 109, but just 40 of them were caught with narcotics. It is not clear what crimes the rest are connected with.
Sixty-six South Africans are imprisoned in Botswana, but only one for drugs, while 64 of the 66 held in Peru are there for narcotics.
Lesotho holds 53 South Africans (just two for drugs), Australia 56 (20 for narcotics), Argentina 47 (just two not for drugs), Pakistan 42 (one not for narcotics) and Venezuela 41 (two not for drugs).