Drug mule mom reaches out

2011-12-13 10:25

 Durban - KwaZulu-Natal South Coast mother Marie Swanepoel knows what it feels like to have a drug mule daughter in a foreign jail, but unlike the Linden family of Durban, she doesn’t have to deal with the pain of having a loved one executed.

Janice Linden, 38, was executed on Monday by Chinese authorities.

Swanepoel’s daughter, Tessa Beetge, 34, has four more years of her sentence to serve in a Sao Paulo jail.

It will be three-and-a-half years today that Beetge was sentenced for drug trafficking in Brazil and on Friday Swanepoel will be able to make her twice yearly, 15-minute call to her daughter.

No such luck for the Linden family, whose last contact with Janice was on Sunday, only hours before her execution. They exchanged a few letters.

Chinese officials have handed over Janice’s ashes to a South African diplomat who will ensure that her family receives them.

Cruel and unjust

Offering the Linden family her condolences, Swanepoel said: “When I heard on the news what they had done to her I was very shocked and very sad. It was just cruel and unjust.

“My sympathies go out to her family and friends. I don’t even know if she has children, what she has and doesn’t have. I just feel so sorry for all of them. May God give them everything they need to get through this.”

Swanepoel said she thanked God that Tessa is safe and hadn’t been tried in China.

“If the same thing were to happen to her I would have gone out of my mind; it would have just been the end of a lot of things.”

Swanepoel appealed to youngsters not to get involved in drug trafficking.

“I know it’s about making money, but you are only getting yourselves into trouble and making the drug dealers rich. It’s not worth it. The heartache you put your parents through is not worth it,” she said.

Did not know her fate

e-News Beijing correspondent John Bailey told The Witness that two of Linden’s older sisters arrived in China on Friday and visited her on Sunday.

They were allowed to spend less than an hour with her, surrounded by Chinese officials. They opted not to tell her she would die by lethal injection the next day.

“The two sisters were very mature in handling the situation. They said they could not tell her about the execution as that would have burdened her.

They had no physical contact as they were separated by a glass partition. They were only allowed to communicate in English, not in isiZulu or any other language.”

Bailey said Linden only became aware that she would die an hour or so before the lethal injection was administered.

She was called to appear before three judges in Guangzhou at about 03:00 SA time and was informed that she would be put to death. She died at about 04:30.

Did she commit the crime?

“The officials would not say much except that in China everyone is treated the same under the laws of the land, whether you are foreign or local,” he said.

Linden’s mother, Virginia, reportedly died two months ago. Her father, Wellington, is too heartbroken to speak.

eTV quoted Linden’s stepsister, Elaine Biyela, as saying: “She has gone to a better place.”

A family friend, Wentworth councillor Aubrey Snyman, told The Witness he believes the matter was not dealt with fairly.

He is concerned that Linden maintained her innocence until the end, although the Chinese court had given her a two-year reprieve in which to admit guilt and receive a jail term instead.

“Why would she plead not guilty knowing that it would cost her life? She could have pleaded guilty to avoid death so now the question is, did she commit the crime?

Linden’s brother, Ramon, told The Witness an official statement will be released once the family was able to meet.

Read more on:    janice linden  |  tessa beetge  |  brazil  |  china  |  sa  |  narcotics

The rich will pay - Mpofu

2014-04-24 22:14

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining

Inside News24


The rich will pay - Mpofu

The EFF in Gauteng will focus all its energy on improving the lives of the poor, the party's premier candidate Dali Mpofu says.


Latest elections multimedia

Watch what happened when we blindfolded Helen Zille and asked her to eat random things
13 days to elections - news you need to know
11 Julius Malema quotes you'll never forget
DA won't get 30% - Zille
  • Tuesday Century City - 05:58 AM
    Road name: Ratanga Road Southbound
    ROADWORKS - lane closure between Ocean Spirit Avenue and Century Boulevard (until mid April)
  • Tuesday Mitchells Plain - 05:58 AM
    Road name: Spine Road
    ROAD CLOSED between Weltevreden Drive and Seafarer Drive due to roadworks (until mid April)
More traffic reports...

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Escape winter, head to Mauritius

Escape winter by spending 7 nights in Mauritius' tropical bliss from R13 215 per person sharing. Includes return flights, airport transfers and accommodation. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

Mother’s Day special offers!

Spoil mom with these awesome specials that will warm her heart. Shop now!

Twisp – the smoking alternative

Buy any 2 refills for R250 and save R149. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

25% off bestselling books!

The Real Meal Revolution by Tim Noakes, Jeffrey Archer’s Be Careful What You Wish for, Man’s Search for Meaning by Victor E. Frank and many more titles. Shop now!

Mother’s Day specials on appliances

Browse our range of Mother’s Day appliances to spoil and pamper mom. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

DStv HD PVR Decoder now R949

The DStv HD PVR Decoder has further revolutionised the television experience with lifelike viewing, sharper images, more vibrant colours and precision picture quality. Now R949, save R550. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Samsung Galaxy Y

The Samsung Y (Young) is tiny but powerful with Android...

From R1499.00

I'm shopping for:


You may be more sensitive today and can be influenced easily by the energies around you. Try not to be swayed too much by the...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.