Family witnessed SA woman's execution
Johannesburg - The ashes of Janice Bronwyn Linden, executed in China on Monday, have been handed to a South African diplomat, the international relations department said.
"Her ashes have been given to a South African diplomat and will be handed over to her family," spokesperson Clayson Monyela said.
Linden, 35, from KwaZulu-Natal, was executed by lethal injection in China on Monday for drug smuggling.
She was arrested in Guangzhou in November 2008 after she was caught with 3kg of crystal methamphetamine (tik) in her luggage. She was convicted of drug smuggling in 2009.
Monyela said members of Linden's family were present for the execution.
"We have been working very closely with the family, and our embassy officials are there to provide the family with consular support," he said.
Earlier, the department said President Jacob Zuma had tried to intervene in Linden's execution.
"He [Zuma] did intervene. All the necessary interventions were done at every possible level, even the highest ones," said Monyela.
"Everything had to happen through diplomatic processes and there is very little that can be done around that."
One of Linden's relatives told The Mercury newspaper: "We communicated with letters. She said she didn't know how the drugs got into her luggage. She thought she was being framed.
"Her sentence is not justified. How can you take a person's life for 3kg of methamphetamine?"
An eNews' correspondent in Asia said her execution could have been commuted to a life sentence if Linden had confessed to the smuggling, but she had maintained her innocence.
Monyela said the department could not comment on the report because it was not aware of the Chinese government's reasons for going through with the execution.
The execution would also not impact South Africa's trade relationship with China, he said.