Sheryl Cwele’s sentence reduced

2013-08-21 00:00

THE 20-year sentence that Sheryl Cwele received from the Appeal Court for drug trafficking was yesterday reduced to 12 years without any outcry.

Cwele is the ex-wife of Siyabonga Cwele, minister of State Security.

She and her co-accused, Frank Nabolisa, were initially sentenced to 12 years’ imprisonment in the Pietermaritzburg high court. They were found guilty of using mules to smuggle drugs and other crimes.

In the Appeal Court, the state gave notice — but did not apply for leave to appeal — against what it termed their “light” sentence.s The Appeal Court increased both sentences to 20 years.

Nabolisa went to the Constitutional Court, which found that the state had to officially appeal their sentences before the Appeal Court could increase them. Nabolisa’s sentence was then reduced back to 12 years.

Shortly after his successful appeal, Cwele submitted a similar appeal to the Constitutional Court.

Yesterday the 11 judges of the Constitutional Court said that in view of the ruling in Nabolisa’s appeal, the Appeal Court’s sentence of 20 years would be set aside.

They said the state had not made any objection.

No oral arguments were heard in Cwele’s case.

The mother of convicted drug mule Tessa Beetge, who continues to languish in a Sao Paulo jail cell, said it came as no surprise to hear that Cwele’s sentence had been reduced to 12 years. This was because the Supreme Court of Appeals had already previously reduced that of her co-accused, Nabolisa.

“I just think both of them should not get out on parole at all,” said Marie Swanepoel.

She said Beetge has so far served more than five years of her total jail sentence of seven years and nine months’ imprisonment for being caught in possession of 10,2 kg of cocaine at Sao Paulo airport.

Swanepoel said she has no telephonic contact with her daughter at all, as the prison will not allow foreign inmates to receive or make phone calls.

“All she [Beetge] is allowed is to receive and send two e-mails per week. She has many people she keeps in touch with, but she always tries to e-mail me,” said Swanepoel.

“I do know she is not receiving any benefits because of her case being high profile,” she added.

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