Drug mule's ashes return to SA

2011-12-29 10:05

Durban - The ashes of drug mule Janice Linden were finally delivered to her family on Wednesday - three weeks after she was executed in China.

The ashes were in a plain brown cardboard box wrapped in masking tape with a DHL sticker, and the package was handed over to the family by members of the South African Police Service who had arrived in a small convoy at the modest Wentworth home.

“Look at this, they weren’t even decent enough to put her in an urn … she was somebody’s child,” said a tearful Nthando Mthalane, Linden’s nephew.

Authorities were accused initially of not doing enough to stop the execution and then for stalling the delivery of Linden’s ashes, both of which international relations spokesperson Clayson Monyela said were out of their hands.


But on Wednesday the closure they were waiting for had finally arrived and now the family can go ahead with the funeral arrangements.

“We want to bury her ashes at the tombstone of her mother’s grave,” Mthalane said, although a date has not been set.

Mthalane’s mother, Priscilla, and Linden’s other sister, Nomalizo Mhlope, were allowed to visit her for 45 minutes just hours before she was executed.

The pair were not allowed to tell her that their mother had died earlier in the year or that she was going to die shortly.

A single candle burned next to the ashes and the family sang devotional songs in Xhosa as they looked over the only two items of clothing they still had of Linden’s: a denim skirt and top which seemed to be from her childhood.

Mthalane said they had hoped to receive the ashes before Christmas so that she could be buried by then.

“It has all just hit home now; we will never see her smiling face again,” he said.

Linden was convicted of smuggling three kilograms of crystal methamphetamine, or tik, in 2009 and had been on death row since then. She maintained her innocence throughout her trial.

Attempts to prevent the execution by various local and international groups were futile and many believe that the South African government did not do enough.

Monyela maintained, however, that there was nothing more anyone could have done.

“Other countries face a similar situation with their countrymen and -women in Chinese prisons. In China smuggling drugs brings with it the death penalty and that’s that,” he said.

  • Alva - 2011-12-29 10:14

    Let this tragedy be a deterrent to other would be drug mules.

      Kate - 2011-12-29 14:53

      The family should be thankful they got them back. How does one know they are who's they say they are anyway

      Willie - 2011-12-29 15:21

      History is got no lessons, this week a bunch of other mules were arrested outside SA. If you can't listen,the Chinese will silence you

      James - 2011-12-29 16:45

      You hit the nail on the head Kate. The Chinese are pretty ruthless. Hence my name change to Hu Flungdung.

      James - 2011-12-29 19:07

      BTW China executes more people than the rest of the world combined.

      Robert - 2011-12-29 20:32

      South Africans have no idea what is happening about Chinese, Koreans infultrating this African continent. Africans you are lost. You thought the west is cruel. Check the Chinese comming in and take your world away from you. Wake up you have no idea what happening ANC - They have the Money and you have the greed. Whish all africans will wake to the fact that Africa is the lat resort to world resources demand. From Rhino to whatever to keep a raw sociaty alive. Good luck ANC. Colonism is a Mickey Mouse of what is comming. Line your pockets with this Eastern force you can not stand up against - Welcome to BRICKS MF's

  • spartanx93 - 2011-12-29 10:27

    Moral of the story is don't traffic drugs cause you will get caught eventually.

  • JohhnyBGood - 2011-12-29 10:30

    Mannn, all in all, it is a sad state to receive the remains like that. Brown box, there you go . . .

      John - 2011-12-29 11:27

      Johnny, I know it seems inhumane but with all due respects there is no where in the world where you get your ashes from the crematorium any other way. The family of the deceased normally appoint an undertaker who collects the ashes and puts them in a urn chosen by the family. Two of our friends died here last year and when we went to collect the ashes they were in a brown cardboard box. To save money we supplied our own urn. Cremation here can cripple a families savings.

  • Janice - 2011-12-29 10:31

    I still say this could have been a set up, WHY did she remain adament that she was innocent?????

      Gregory Jurgens - 2011-12-29 10:39

      All criminals are adamant they innocent.

      Ben - 2011-12-29 10:42

      When you find yourself in the hands of a drug lord you will do what he says for as long as he decides and there is no escape. As soon as you start complaining he will have you caught. You will never know his name or address and wont be able to report it to the police. Most drug mules get caught this way and they then see it as innocent as they are doing it to be kept alive in the hope to free themselves someday.

      Squeegee - 2011-12-29 12:13

      Ben, that is rubbish. These people are not superhuman. They are not mythical creatures who can find you anywhere. When your life is on the line (as in China) do something here and now to save your life.

      Janice - 2011-12-29 12:39

      Well, only she and God knows the truth!

      Nicolas - 2011-12-29 13:17

      I agree, something is not right here! Especially since her sentence would have been changed to life in prison if she admitted her guilt.....

  • Thoka - 2011-12-29 10:34

    This is very sad, your body/ashes being delivered in a parcel box. she maintained her innocence, i guess we shall never know the truth.

      jowza1 - 2011-12-29 11:48

      thats a load of crap thoka.what was she doing in china then

      James - 2011-12-29 16:54

      Simple truth. Woman looks nervous, Customs official searches Woman. "OOh you are smuggling drugs, we shoot drug mules. But you are lucky we will IV you"

  • mikenortje - 2011-12-29 10:41

    Yep she was someones child and the drugs she was carring to sell to "other" peoples children as well, think about them. Don't be a drug mule more simple you cannot get.

      Emily-Jane Elson - 2011-12-29 10:52

      True. They see it as some1 bringing drugs in that will kill their own. She should've known better..

  • RSole - 2011-12-29 10:44

    As a parent I feel very sorry for the girl's parents. Sad but completely avoidable.

  • Sharkshoot - 2011-12-29 10:44

    South Africans have been conditioned to embrace criminals as functioning essential members of our society, while in countries like China they're vilified and sorted out with extreme prejudice. Harden up and let this be a lesson to all future career mules in this sick country.

      Emily-Jane Elson - 2011-12-29 10:51


      rbczovczov - 2011-12-29 11:53

      Our justic system gives away too much rights to criminals at the expense of law abiding citizens.

  • Buck - 2011-12-29 10:44

    These people sure dont joke. Pray they dont send the family a bill for the lethal injection used.

      moikhethi - 2011-12-29 11:17

      Ha ha ha ha ha ha

  • Deeteem - 2011-12-29 10:45

    “Look at this, they weren’t even decent enough to put her in an urn … she was somebody’s child” !! What else did you want madame, a 18 carat urn with an engraved picture flown first class ? SHE WAS A CRIMINAL !!!

  • Susan - 2011-12-29 10:45

    I Dont have any simpathy for drug smugglers and feel that they deserve the death penalty but i cant help but wonder - if it is so easy to take something out of a suitcase at the airport, it must be just as easy to put something into a suitcase...

      Gregory Jurgens - 2011-12-29 11:11

      Only problem is . What was she doing there in the first place. She couldn't afford a holiday. All very suspicious . The only free meal you get is in a mouse trap.

  • Liz Queen - 2011-12-29 11:00

    I dont knw y i cried wen i read this

      Gregory Jurgens - 2011-12-29 11:07

      You got some serious emotional issues.

      Gregory Jurgens - 2011-12-29 11:53

      And the ugly chicks.

  • zaakiro - 2011-12-29 11:13

    Crime has its consequences, different nations have different laws, break them and unfortunately this could be the result. Bottom line is how ever sad it is to loose a life, most drug mules know the risks, yet they fail to abide by the law. At the end of the day, it comes down to the simplest of examples, drive above the speed limit and be fined accordingly.

      Jerhone - 2011-12-29 12:17

      the saddest thing about this is that a woman who was maybe poor and desperate lost her life, where as a ministers wife got off easily this is ANC justice

  • Eric - 2011-12-29 11:19

    It is time SA executed a few of the Chinese involved in the perlemoen and rhino horn trade.

      Hans - 2011-12-29 11:56

      Nou praa-jy!

      Gregory Jurgens - 2011-12-29 12:00

      Correct. Send them home via the post office. So there ashes can get stolen.

      zaakiro - 2011-12-29 12:01

      Well how ever ruthless they are in removing the horns of a Rhino, which is a despicable thing to do to any animal, especially knowing that most of them are removed while the animal is alive, the law unfortunately doesn't provide for such punishment. Yet i agree, a serious enough punishment needs to be tabled to stop this.

      Branas.Inspekteur - 2011-12-29 12:05

      Cannot agree more!

      Rodney - 2011-12-29 16:20

      Lol agree 100%.

      Jay - 2011-12-29 18:57 in essence, you want to break South African law by enacting your own vigilante execution sprea as a revenge against the Chinese for upholding their own laws in their own land. Another simpleton lacking critical thinking.

  • raymond.kok3 - 2011-12-29 11:19


      Siso - 2011-12-29 12:31

      Ray was that really necessary

      Jarred - 2011-12-29 14:37

      Ray, you 100% right! Our laws here protect criminals more than victims, lets learn from the Chinese instead of crying over what happened to a CRIMINAL! Like so many have said, if she couldn't afford a holiday in China how did she manage to get there at all? Some people are selectively ignorant! Forget the CRIMINAL getting delivered in a box, what if your child overdoses on the drugs someone like this brings to them and dies lying in their own vomit and poo on the floor of your house? Is that a dignified death or less trauma for a VICTIM's family? What if a desperate drug addict kills your child while under the influence of the drugs that was muled into SA will you defend the mules life and dignity then? GET REAL PEOPLE! Our Law makers need to become more ruthless about REAL issues here in SA and implement the death penalty again!

  • Nkosinathi - 2011-12-29 11:35

    The Chinese penal system is known to execute over a 1000 prisoners per year and they are also known to be the major supplier for donor organs. Ashes? I doubt! A human being is still a human being no matter what their crime. Lets treat each other with some bit of decency.

      jowza1 - 2011-12-29 11:50

      criminals deserve no decency.when you are a victim of crime,tell us then about decency

      Jerhone - 2011-12-29 12:39

      if a human being takes a life he is an animal, and should be treated as such, you obviously have not lost someone to drug abuse, they wreck their own families before dying terible deaths, while the parasite dealers and mules live a great life with no human feelings for others but themselves and their families, drug lords that are caught their whole family should be executed because they lived and sponged off the misery of others, that type of justice would stop drug dealing overnight ivory and rihno poachers should have all their finger and toe nails removed while awake and then sentenced to jail or death as they contribute to the genocide of a species that should be protected for future generations

  • Hans - 2011-12-29 11:51

    Very approropiate one would say.

  • Gregory Jurgens - 2011-12-29 11:57

    U smuggle drugs , U end up in a DHL cardboard box. No even a express package.

  • mamoshianem1 - 2011-12-29 12:04

    Where is respect for deceased people in China.I understand the damage that she was gonna cause,after all she was a human being.She deserve dignity,last respect.Anyway what to expect from people who are eating rats,cats,dogs and snakes.

      Jerhone - 2011-12-29 12:45

      deceaced people are vrek, dead to the world you can throw my dead carcass in a rubish bin when i'm dead for all i care, funerals and graves are just a big waste of money to make others rich, the body is just a vessle that ceases to function at death, you should care more for the living and stop worshiping the dead

      Jarred - 2011-12-29 14:56

      Drug mules enable people who will rape/murder/steal for their next fix and feed the industry and demand for drugs... I'll eat rats mice and domestic pets any day instead of being a drug addict that won't even flinch to off you or I for drugs! To me that makes a mule just as bad even worse knowing the consequences for the people they ensure stay addicted and those who the effect!

      Irma - 2011-12-29 15:39

      She WAS treated with dignity. They didn't give her an exact date of when she was going to die, so that she could wallow and panic and fear until the day came. They were very decent about it- they didn't hang her, electrocute her- lethal injection is humane considering the circumstances.

  • indianajohn - 2011-12-29 12:14

    There's a lot of absolute condemnation of this girl round here. While I absolutely agree that drug smuggling must be stopped, I can't help but think that all those here who seem to satisfied with her death have lived very lovely lives without ever encountering a family member who got themselves into trouble. Happens to the very best of loving families, these days someone can lose their way so easily, too young to truly realise what they're doing. There's no way you can defend drug smuggling, of course not, but I get the feeling that all those sitting here with a satisfied smirk have had the fortune of never having a loved one that needed rescuing from that evil world.

      Marlene - 2012-01-07 23:46

      Oh Indianajohn, that was a very bad comment indeed. People are not satisfied with anyones death - but i pray that no 'mule' is going to help my grandchildren down the path of hell. We are not smirking .... we are actually sick with anxiety. We are totally aware that our lovely lives can be smashed at any moment -- we were not born yesterday !! I totally live with the reality of this dreadful drug-fueled world that we live in. Any ideas of how to prevent drug "muling" - if not i would zip my mouth if i were you !

  • Siso - 2011-12-29 12:15

    It's really sad and I feel sorry for her family, smuggling drugs is a serious crime and its an urgent problem that every country needs to deal with especially South Africa but atleast we need to put the negative comments about this story and move on for the sake of her family, this is no longer about her but its about those who are left behind to actually learn something from all of this drugs fiasco.

      Themba - 2011-12-29 13:22

      if you have cash you can do as you wish like agliote,,

  • Dennis - 2011-12-29 12:16

    Moral:If you carry drugs, you may think you're a mule, but actually you're an ash!

  • Thoka - 2011-12-29 12:35

    I see people are judging me as if they know exectly what happened. goods get stolen frm travellers all over the world. I strongly dont condone this acts all I am saying somebody knows something, if that is the case how do they live with themself?

      Siso - 2011-12-29 12:45

      Judging you??

  • Celia - 2011-12-29 12:38

    Dear News24, she had a name. It was Janice Linden, not Drug Mule. She was still a person, despite what she may or may not have done (forgive me if I don't put my faith in the Chinese justice system). She still had human rights which were violated in the worst way. And she still has a family who might be reading this. People are quick to judge, but two things about this case bothers me: 1. Given how regularly items are stolen from luggage at airports, it's more than possible to sneak something into another's suitcase. 2. Applying the 'reasonable person test' - a reasonable person on trial for drug smuggling would assume that, if guilty, he or she would be found as such. When presented with the choice of a death sentence when found guilty or life in prison if he/she is prepared to plead guilty would choose the life sentence. Sadly, we will never know if justice was done in this case. I do agree that drugs kill and all effort should be made to take it of the street, but not once have I come accross any mention that the mastermind behind this is being hunted down. Drug mules are a dime a dozen, but if you don't take out the drug kingpins, the war will never be won.

      edgar.sammie - 2011-12-29 13:50

      thank you for your views was wondering why people are so quik in condeming when they do not know excactly what happened, and what pains me the most is who are you to take anotherlife. that icannot support no matter what it's juss humanty at it's worst, how many criminals are getting away with murder simply becoz they had a good lawyer or are connected or bribed the judge

      Jarred - 2011-12-29 15:08

      What justice system DO you have faith in then? Not ours if you're honest with yourself... As for drugs being put into her bag, the likelihood of that is rather slim don't you think? Wouldn't a "druglord" try to secure his 3 kg or whatever of drugs instead of it being seized??? Be logical, she claimed her innocence because she is used to the South African justice system of appeal appeal appeal and then get off... Unfortunately she probably thought that if she claimed her innocence that South Africa's government would have her brought back here to face the charges, she underestimated the Chinese justice system and how it worked. Remember she was not told when she would be executed so it is also logical to assume she thought there was plenty time for appeal after appeal! No conspiracy, just justice! It's not like she was a star or politician just average Jane and who would set up a nobody? GET REAL!

      Irma - 2011-12-29 15:49

      Dear Cecilia, if you have a problem with her being referred to as a drug mule, then what should she be called? I am sure you don't mind when your read titles with "RAPIST" or "MURDER ACCUSED" and the likes- it is NOT anyones fault except her own that she ended up in that situation thus it is not unfair to call her anything less than she was- A DRUG MULE. To answer your two questions: 1) If it was more than possible, why did she act odd at the airport? It was the way she acted that brought her under suspicion in the first place. And there is a simple way to remedy the problem- use a LOCK on your bag and seal it with clingwrap. If your bag does not come back to you the way you left if, go to the help desk/ security first thing. DUH. 2) Your "Reasonable Person Test" - I think many would rather maintain their innocence than admit to being guilt. The embarassment and, well, guilt that comes with being guilty is sometimes too much for people and they are sometimes too proud. But like you said, this is something SOME people will continue to question forever.

  • Siso - 2011-12-29 12:41

    It's really sad and I feel sorry for her family, smuggling drugs is a serious crime and its an urgent problem that every country needs to deal with especially South Africa but atleast we need to put the negative comments about this story and move on for the sake of her family, this is no longer about her but its about those who are left behind to actually learn something from all of this drugs fiasco.

  • Ajebe - 2011-12-29 12:54

    The death penalty is cruel and inhumane and should be abolished. Every single life has value, whether raving mad or behind bars. Even a hard-line criminal - a murderer, has the ability of reforming and becoming a normal citizen.

      jowza1 - 2011-12-29 12:57

      the only thing that should be exterminated is criminals

      Pixie86 - 2011-12-29 12:58

      i beg to differ.

      jowza1 - 2011-12-29 12:59

      oh i see you are a lawyer.the death penalty will hurt your repeat business

      Philip - 2011-12-29 13:24

      Any hard line criminals in your family, think about their victims families?? My recomendation would be to allow the affected family to decide if the death penalty should be applied and allow them to kick the chair!

      Irma - 2011-12-29 15:50

      Wrong. A man who murders a 5 year old child has VALUE?? Why does his life have more value than the kid he murdered??????

      ACEUP - 2011-12-29 15:58

      Yes I agree the death sentance is cruel and inhunane, but so is it inhumane to sell my children drugs so they can die. Every country in the world should bring in the death sentence for drug mules and sellers alike, pehaps then the youth of the worls may have a small fighting chance at life.

      Lephutsi - 2011-12-30 23:57

      your name sound Nigerian. You must be a drug dealer that is why you are defending drug mules.

  • Themba - 2011-12-29 13:28

    How would someone remain inocent till death, maybe she was realy inocent, i start to bilive now that she was inocent,,

  • trix.duvenage - 2011-12-29 13:36

    No matter what, death is still a very sad subject. DRugs however is bad news and if more countries adopt China's attitude the world might become a better place.

  • edgar.sammie - 2011-12-29 13:42

    no matter how terrrible what she did might seem i strongly believe that no human beign has a right to take another life, everyone needs a second chance at onetime or another. who is he or she that is perfect, let him be the one to condem another. if at one point in your life have asked another human being for forgivenss or leniency then you're disqualified. i say no to death sentence. it's madness

      jowza1 - 2011-12-29 13:57

      edgar,talk to families who are effected by drugs,or who been maimed or murdered by criminals.the reason this country is overidden by crime is because of liberals like you

      Jarred - 2011-12-29 15:14

      Who's going to give the drug addicted children a second chance after they've turned to prostitution or crime to feed their habits which were enabled in the first place by people like this? What about the young child who overdoses and dies?Do they get a second chance? What about the child left brain damaged and needing full time care from their family because drugs destroyed their brains does the family get a second chance? Would the child get a second chance at life? GET RID OF THESE PEOPLE!

  • Ruben - 2011-12-29 14:03

    The drug mule and the drug seller are just scratch the surface when it comes to this problem. This is just a political feel good law for the Chinese but will never solve the problem. Ms Linden is not the first South African to be caught in a foreign country and executed, there will be more and the death penalty is not going to stop it. I'm not going to pretend to even understand why people do it, obviously a desperate need for money is part of this equation but to actually decide to do this is foolish to say the least. They are the pawns of this trade, sacrificed while the drug lords laugh and get rich at the expense of society. I don't support the death penalty but if anyone should get it then it should be these drug lords and the owners of "drug factories". Countries like China should be boycotted with their superficial laws. If the world really cares about this problem then send special forces into areas where these criminals are, burn down their farms and factories and put them in jail and save society from this scourge that besets our families.

  • Mboneli - 2011-12-29 14:03

    I'm fully agree ,sorry for the girl's parents and siblings who did not know what their kids were up to ,sad but completely avoidable.Your body/ashes being delivered in a parcel box it's painful.unfortunately SA doesn't execute like other countries [china] i urge u guyz just avoid yourselves in this senseless act.

  • derekneilmaclachlan - 2011-12-29 14:27

    Lucky they did not just send the ash's by post!!! A warning for all other drug mules ...dont do it's just not worth it.

  • Martin - 2011-12-29 14:36

    She was executed on Dec.12 . Wednesday was Dec. 28. How do you get three weeks?

  • Nombeko - 2011-12-29 15:01

    this is a lesson to our young ladies who are drug mules.

  • The-Azanian - 2011-12-29 15:24

    Atleast the family has got sumthin 2 sniff to get high wenever they thnk abt her.

  • Allan - 2011-12-29 15:28

    convoy of police to deliver a box of ashes of a criminal, was DHL to busy to deliver or did it get lost and the police found the box and decided to deliver and were afraid to enter the area alone

      Irma - 2011-12-29 15:50

      I tihnk the police did it out of respect to the family.

  • Mike - 2011-12-29 15:29

    No sympathy. At least you got the cremation no charge Alot of other parents who lost their children due to the disgusting druglords had to pay for their funerals.Hang the bastard dealers and their agents.

  • Linda - 2011-12-29 20:05

    The goverment thought she was a white person by her name thats why ZUMA drag his feet until they realise who janice was and then it was to late it doesnt matter what she did who are we to judge the goverment does worse thinGS THAN SMUGGLING what about the chinese MAFIA AND SMUGGLERS IN SOUTH AFRICA why dont ZUMA hang them and every corrupt goverment official with them

  • jonny.g.gonzalez - 2011-12-30 21:56


  • luyolo.makalima - 2012-03-19 02:21

    China rocks !!!...She was a dog ,she deserved no decency .

  • jan.dupreez1 - 2012-03-19 15:12

    Good, a lesson learnt. Don't mess with international drug enforcement, especially China, Thailand, Brazil and Indonesia. They WILL take you out. The lure of quick money will always be there, but so will the drug enforcers.

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