Protect SA drug mule's rights - DA
Johannesburg - International Relations Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane must ensure that the human rights of alleged drug mule Nolubabalo Nobanda are protected while she is in jail in Thailand, the Democratic Alliance said on Wednesday.
"The DA will be closely monitoring this situation and how it is handled by the Zuma government," said DA MP Stevens Mokgalapa in a statement.
"I will be writing to Nkoana-Mashabane to determine what the department is doing to ensure Ms Nobanda's well being."
Nobanda was arrested in Thailand this week for hiding cocaine in her dreadlocks. The 23-year-old was searched on Monday when police noticed a white substance in her hair shortly after she stepped off a Qatar Airways flight.
Police found 1.5kg of cocaine with an estimated street value of $150 000 (R1.2m) hidden in her dreadlocks.
She admitted to smuggling the drugs and said she was hired to deliver the cocaine to a customer at a Bangkok hotel.
Mokgalapa said Monday's execution of Janice Linden by Chinese authorities raised serious questions about whether South African authorities did all they could to protect her rights.
Linden was executed by lethal injection after being caught with three kilograms of crystal methamphetamine (tik) in her luggage.
"Whilst drug offenders deserve to be punished their basic rights should not be violated," he said.
"Our government must do all it can to ensure that the basic rights of all South Africans, whether at home or abroad, are protected at all times." Mokgalapa explained that the department of international relations, under the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations, was obliged to offer assistance to Nobanda and her family.
They were meant to establish contact with Nobanda and ensure she understood her rights, and the services that could be provided by the South African government.
The department had to further provide general information to Nobanda and her family about Thailand's legal system, bail and appeal procedures.
Mokgalapa said the ministry was supposed to maintain contact with Nobanda, undertake prison visits and contact a maximum of three of her family members or friends.
"Minister Nkoana-Mashabane must explain which of these steps have been acted on by her department thus far," he said.
"She must also provide information about the steps her department will be taking to monitor Ms Nobanda welfare while she is imprisoned."