Domestic worker denies she sold drugs for Chetty

2009-02-08 00:00

Three domestic workers employed by Pietermaritzburg’s alleged “drug queen”, Ramjini Chetty, were arrested on separate occasions for selling cocaine.

This evidence was heard in the Pietermaritzburg regional court on Friday where Chetty and four co-accused are on trial.

Giving evidence in her defence was one of Chetty’s co-accused, Bongi Dlamini, who said she had worked for Chetty as a domestic maid. Her job had been to clean and to look after Chetty’s children, she said.

Dlamini denied she was involved in selling drugs on behalf of Chetty in connection with the present case. She said evidence that she sold cocaine on Chetty’s behalf to an undercover agent at Queen Street was a lie.

Dlamini told regional magistrate Chris van Vuuren that she pleaded guilty to a charge of dealing in two pieces of cocaine in November 2004 in respect of which she was sentenced to 12 months’ imprisonment, half of which was suspended.

She had served about three months of her prison sentence.

Under cross-examination by Scorpions advocate Wendy Greef, Dlamini said she had sold the drugs in question without Chetty’s knowledge, that the transaction took place “outside” Chetty’s Queen Street residences and that she had hidden the drugs by burying them outside her property near the gate.

When it rained she kept the cocaine on her person, she said.

Dlamini said the drugs were supplied to her by her boyfriend, Mdu Ngcobo.

Under cross-examination she admitted that two other domestic workers who were employed by Chetty had been arrested for dealing in drugs on separate occasions, but said she had not been aware of their drug-dealing activities.

“So three domestic maids who were employed by accused one (Chetty) were all selling drugs at some point, but you didn’t know?” the magistrate asked at one point.

Asked why Chetty had re-employed her when she came out of jail and was prepared to entrust the care of her children to a “convicted drug dealer”, Dlamini said she had telephoned Chetty while awaiting parole and “pleaded” with her to take her back as she needed to supply the parole officials with an address where she could be located.

Chetty, Joyce Komane, Surychand Maharaj, Dlamini and Jessendren Pillay have pleaded not guilty to involvment in a drug syndicate allegedly run by Chetty.

The charge sheet lists a total of 36 offences, including two charges of racketeering, 26 of dealing in cocaine (or alternative charges of possessing cocaine or conspiracy to deal in the drug), seven counts of money laundering and one of fraud.

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