Sheryl Cwele's lawyers consider options

2012-10-05 10:09
Sheryl Cwele (Supplied)

Sheryl Cwele (Supplied)

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Pietermaritzburg - Lawyers for convicted drug dealer Sheryl Cwele may still try to soften the blow meted to her when the Supreme Court of Appeal extended her sentence to 20 years.

“We are still considering our position with regard to approaching the Constitutional Court,” her attorney, Madoda Nxumalo, said on Thursday.

Cwele had meanwhile braced herself to serve the 20-year sentence she began on Thursday, according to her pastor.

Fair hearing

Pastor Reggie John of the Kairos Ministries in Port Shepstone said two major issues she had to deal with ahead of her incarceration were the welfare of her elderly mother and the 3-year-old she had adopted.

He said he had visited her at her central Port Shepstone home during the three days between the Supreme Court of Appeal’s judgment and her reporting for prison.

John added that Cwele was obviously not pleased with the result of the appeal against her conviction.

“All along she said she was not trying to evade justice, she just wanted a fair hearing,” he said.

He also said his church would be available for the family, should they wish to talk.

Meanwhile, Marie Swanepoel of Margate, whose daughter, Tessa Beetge, is serving eight years in a Brazilian prison after Cwele and her co-accused Frank Nabolisa procured her to smuggle cocaine, said she felt “very well” knowing Cwele was behind bars.

Swanepoel said she had been informed on Thursday morning that Cwele had handed herself in to start serving sentence in Westville Prison.

Nothing to say

On Thursday morning, Cwele handed herself in at the KwaZulu-Natal High Court to start serving her sentence.

"I have nothing to say… I don’t even want to see you,” Cwele tearfully told The Witness while seated in the registrar’s office.

Cwele, her attorney and a man said to be her brother, had earlier managed to give the media the slip by entering the court building via a rear entrance.

She also took journalists by surprise by surrendering herself sooner rather than later by arriving at the office of high court registrar Ronel Jooste at 08:20, well before 13:00 as stipulated by her bail conditions.

When Jooste told Cwele the press were there, she immediately responded: “No, I don’t want to talk to them”.

A short while later, she had no option but to brave the glare of the cameras as she crossed the high court foyer with the waiting paparazzi in hot pursuit, and was escorted downstairs to the court cells.

Anxious to catch a final glimpse of her departing for Westville prison by police van, the media gathered in the parking lot outside the cells.

Police tried their best to shield their notorious charge from more publicity by reversing the police van as close to the stairs as possible. Cwele clambered inside and the van sped away.

Tears


Despite her tear-filled eyes hidden behind her glasses, Cwele appeared to have taken some trouble with her hairstyle, make-up and dress in keeping with her usual style.

On arrival at Westville shortly before 11:00, the van was met by a dozen armed prison officials with dogs. They immediately surrounded the vehicle.

Cwele could be seen seated in the shadows, alone in the back of the van.

A senior official was on hand to facilitate the former minister’s wife’s entry to jail.

Cwele’s last glimpse of freedom would have been the green trees and bush along the road leading to Westville prison, which is on top of a hill, a mere stone’s throw from the Pavilion shopping centre.

Correctional Services confirmed that she would undergo a routine medical examination and would spend the night in the prison hospital, before joining 383 other inmates wearing blue prison uniforms in the women’s section of the prison.
 
Read more on:    sheryl cwele  |  durban  |  pietermaritzburg  |  narcotics
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