Mother prays cocaine trial will prove her jailed daughter’s innocence

2010-10-12 00:00

TESSA Beetge, the South Coast woman who was arrested in Brazil in 2008 for being in possession of 9,2 kg of cocaine, is eager to return to South Africa and put everything that has happened behind her, according to her mother, Marie Swanepoel.

Beetge is alleged to have been working with Hibiscus Coast Municipality employee Sheryl Cwele and Nigerian drug lord Frank Nabolisa, who are on trial in Pietermaritzburg facing charges of conspiring to deal drugs.

In an interview with The Witness, Swanepoel said this has been an extremely tough time for the family, but she acknowledged that she is happy that the Cwele trial has begun.

“Everybody in the family has been very supportive of Tessie (Beetge) during this tough time, sending SMSes and letting us know they are here for her,” she said.

“We are very happy that it has finally got under way.”

Swanepoel acknowledged that she does not hear from Beetge very often and says that has been difficult to deal with.

“Contact is very scarce. She writes letters that take about three weeks to arrive, if they do at all.

“We get e-mails from her, too but not very often,” explained Swanepoel.

“She is doing fine. Obviously she is stressed out; it is not fun sitting in a prison. She just wants to come home.”

Beetge is serving an eight-year prison sentence in Brazil, but Swanepoel is hopeful that the trial will prove her daughter’s innocence.

The three Brazilian police officers who were involved in Beetge’s arrest will be presenting evidence in Pietermaritzburg during the ­trial. Swanepoel was due to testify in Pietermaritzburg yesterday.

“I was supposed to appear in court today, but the court was running late, largely due to all of the translations, so they told me to go home,” she said.

“I will now be appearing tomorrow.”

She acknowledges that the road ahead is not necessarily an easy one, but Swanepoel has placed her faith in God to see that her daughter returns home soon.

“I put a lot of faith in God. That is my number one priority and it is also Tessie’s,” said Swanepoel.

“I am very confident that this will all blow over and we will get our daughter back.”

For now, though, Swanepoel is determined to persevere through these difficult moments.

“The more you think about it, the harder it becomes,” she says.

“Sooner or later you have to face reality.”

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