Cwele’s freedom to end tomorrow

2012-10-03 00:00

CONVICTED drug kingpin Sheryl Cwele’s freedom is scheduled to end tomorrow.

She must report to the registrar of the high court in Pietermaritzburg between 8.30 am and 1 pm to start serving the 20-year sentence — which would have been only 12 had she not appealed against her conviction.

“Notice was sent to her attorneys before lunch yesterday [Monday],” Ronelle Jooste, registrar of the high court, told The Witness yesterday.

“She must report to me, in my office.”

On Monday, the Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) in Bloemfontein, extended the sentences of Cwele (51) and her co-accused, Nigerian Frank Nabolisa.

Cwele is the ex-wife of State Security Minister Siyabonga Cwele, a trained nurse and the former director of health services at the Hibiscus Coast Municipality.

Her lawyer, Madoda Nxumalo, could not be reached for comment yesterday evening. However, he was quoted in The Mercury as saying nothing would happen until the correspondence had been received.

Meanwhile, other correspondence is scheduled to start happening between South Africa and Brazil, according to Marie Swanepoel whose daughter, Tessa Beetge, had been sent to South America by Cwele and Nabolisa to smuggle drugs.

Having been praised in the SCA judgment for her courage and determination to get the two convicted, she’s now going all out to get her daughter home before the end of her eight-year sentence.

She believes that their failure before the SCA could provide ammunition for her request for Beetge’s incarceration time to be reduced.

“There have been arrangements for police reports to be e-mailed through to the prison services in Brazil on Monday.”

On being told that Cwele had to report to serve her sentence tomorrow, Swanepoel, who is from Margate, commented, “Oh, super!”

She said that on Monday she had called an officer at her daughter’s prison and asked her to inform Beetge about the outcome of the SCA case.

“She promised to tell her after work. It would have been at about 9 pm our time.”

Swanepoel visited her daughter in Brazil after her arrest in Sao Paulo in 2008 and wishes she could go again, but hasn’t got the money.

She added that she had enjoyed much goodwill from people in the South Coast community since news of the SCA ruling broke.“Margate is ecstatic. Port Shepstone too. So am I and so are my grandchildren [Beetge’s daughters].”

• duncan.guy@witness.co.za

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