Drug case woman back in court

2009-03-05 00:00

Pietermaritzburg businesswoman Joyce Komane (47) appeared in the Magistrate’s Court yesterday in connection with a charge that she possessed a “piece of one Mandrax tablet” and was released on bail of R2 000.

Magistrate Helgaard Fobian refused a request by the prosecution to postpone the case for seven days for further investigation and to establish Komane’s “profile” while Komane remained in custody.

He said the charge facing Komane is not a scheduled offence since it involves “one piece” of a Mandrax tablet and therefore the court is not required to hold a bail inquiry.

Fobian said the offence does not justify Komane’s incarceration, particularly without any reasons being given and since she was already on bail in another case. Hundreds if not thousands of similar cases come before courts daily, he said.

“I have become tired of this profile story,” he said, adding that frequently no “profile” of an accused is ever produced.

He said defence advocate Fanie Slabbert openly revealed that Komane has previous convictions for shoplifting (the last one dating back to 1984) and that she has a pending case against her.

He granted the R2 000 bail, which Komane’s advocate said she was able to offer to allay any fears that she would not stand trial.

Komane is one of five accused already facing charges of involvement in a local drug syndicate run by Pietermaritzburg’s so-called drug queen, Ramjini Chetty.

Komane, Chetty, Surychand Maharaj, Bongi Dlamini and Jessendren Pillay face a total of 36 charges in the regional court, including two counts 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.

Legal argument in that case will be heard on April 1 and judgment is expected to be handed down by regional magistrate Chris van Vuuren on April 16.

Komane was arrested this week at Erna Road, Northdale, on the Mandrax charge by members of the crime intelligence unit.

Police said they went there in response to information, and allegedly found Komane in possession of a Mandrax tablet.

Inspector Joey Jeevan told The Witness that the average street value of a single Mandrax tablet is around R60.

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