Jailed SA drug mule shares her story

2012-06-22 12:07

Johannesburg - Jailed South African drug mule Nolubabalo Nobanda would have been killed if she backed out of trafficking drugs to Thailand, it was reported on Friday.

The Star Africa Edition
reported that Nobanda, 23, who was recently sentenced to 15 years by a Bangkok court, claimed she was not a drug trafficker but a victim of human-trafficking by foreigners in South Africa.

She claimed when she found out she was expected to traffic drugs, she tried to back out, but was threatened.

"If the Nigerians got to know that I was not going to do the work, they could even kill me..." said Nobanda in a statement.


She said a close friend of hers, Sulezo Rwanqa, was given a job by the brother of a friend to sell hair products from Brazil in South Africa.

Arriving in Brazil, Nobanda and Rwanqa met with another South African woman who was apparently angry that the two were too young to execute the apparently dangerous job which was set for them.

Nobanda said what followed was the "training" for the trafficking which started with the swallowing of condoms filled with drugs, but she could not keep the condoms down.

Then came the idea of putting the drugs in her hair.

When she landed in Thailand, it was as though the immigration officials were expecting her.

"They went straight for me and took me to a separate room."

Thai officials caught Nobanda with 1.4kg of cocaine in her hair.

  • Henk - 2012-06-22 12:15

    Ja shame ne.....

      zukile.marcus - 2012-06-22 20:55

      Siya you dont have to believe it if you dont want to buddy

  • Rifkar Ramovha - 2012-06-22 12:19

    Nigerians again....omw

  • pmalungana - 2012-06-22 12:22

    gals watch who you are going out with, know what they do for living to avoid these kind of incidents

  • jackson.harrison.752 - 2012-06-22 12:27

    What a crock of sh*t - if this was the case why did she just not go straight to the customs in Thailand and explain her story and that she was forced to do this, any police force would have welcomed her co operation in catching the buyer in Thailand - always innocent these criminals, lock it up for life , drug dealing scum

      chris.shield - 2012-06-22 12:35

      How do you know that her minders hadn't threatened her family? I can't believe the heartlesness of some of these comments! Were you there? Do you know all the finer details? in that case you have no grounds to judge... Such a waste of what might've been a productive life..

      Bongani - 2012-06-22 13:03

      i think you have never seen a corrupt situation or you have never been in Thailand in your life. People in Thailand are struggling financially, most cops are owned by drug lords. The girl was just used as a decoy from the real delivery. unfortunately she suffered. im not she is innocent, but there is a huge possibility she was used. Just take a visit to Thailand one day and make sure you have a steel suitcase.

      walter.tgsa - 2012-06-22 17:08

      @Bongani: I am currently in Thailand, yes, there is corruption but thats also the case in RSA, I think? People struggling? Yes, some are, some are very wealthy, like in RSA. Personally? I do not understand what point you are making here, sorry!

      gailcarolynhayes - 2012-06-23 12:04

      I do believe she was a decoy ut these people knew about her family in all probability and she was under duress. She could have declared herself to the boarding official at her place of embarkation but what certainty did she have that these people were not in cahoots with the criminals. If they paid for her tickets she was beholden to them but when you are in a foreign country with nobody you trust to turn to it sounds so easy to just go to the law and turn yourself in but with SA law officers and people on the take everywhere how do you know who to turn to. My suggestion would be to find out in advance what the customs telephone number is at point of embarkation when you arrive there and give them a call - ie let the mules lead the genuine officials to the people who lured you there and carry on as normal with your smuggling activity so that when you arrive at the destination the surveillance let you through and watch yu deliver the "contraband" and follow the person who receives it as far up the chain as possible. Bottom line is if it sounds too good to be true then say no.

      Hugh - 2012-06-23 12:41

      Then again she could have told the Captain of the aircraft and she would have been detained quitely. Are we to believe that she doing this for free? Moreover, her family did not know what was happening or where she was. In her community being employed is a big thing. Finaly one gets into drug smuggling if you know people who are that way inclined.

  • Kala - 2012-06-22 12:29

    Waht drug smugglers do is use these girls as decoys. So they send them through wil a kilo or so of contraband and then tip off the police. Whilst they are busy nabing the mule a second larger consignment passes through. Now that she is "safe" behinds bars why doesn't she provide authorities with names of these Nigerians so that they can be arrested before some other naive kid can fall into their hands.

      lindiwe.ntshingila - 2012-06-22 12:57

      If u have a copy of the full affidavit, she has supplied all names she knows lets see if something will be done about it!

      Ngaka - 2012-06-22 13:03

      Their names are Samuel and Tony....

      gailcarolynhayes - 2012-06-23 12:09

      Possibly she has done this and the info checked out which is why she has received a lighter sentence. The Kingpins though hide behind aliases and move around so sometimes if you co-operate even the name is false and the drug smuggleris then severely punished even by death. What if the truth comes out and one of the people who decides on the penalty is atually involved - death penalty is the obvious solution as dead girls tell no tales.

  • alvin.ntsethe - 2012-06-22 12:31

    ''guess which country in Africa n africa tht has a lot of drug dealers

      alvin.ntsethe - 2012-06-22 12:36

      the answer is nigeria they also prostituting small kids 4 money here in SA...

  • Aziza - 2012-06-22 12:32

    but swallowing condoms filled with cocaine.. yohh that must have hurt and they knew she was coming.. shame she was used as a detour for the real big order that passed through on that what a foolish girl..

  • sas.kloppers - 2012-06-22 12:35

    "I'm innocent." We've heard this story before. Thank goodness she's not blaming "racism" like everyone else.....

  • susan.paul.330 - 2012-06-22 12:36

    I think it's too late, the deed is done...

  • psebe - 2012-06-22 12:37

    I hope that many Young SA ladies will learn from Nulobanda's case. Nigerian and many foreigners(black and white) are here to make money by hook or crook..If our ladies could stop being so greed and stay away from some illicit businesses.

  • Bulls - 2012-06-22 12:44

    All of the criminals are innoscent, haven't you heard that? it is never about them, there's always someone who made them do crime.AND no one has ever met that"someone" if it's not the Nigerians is the ANC or APARTHEID. SIES! ROT IN THAILAND YOU SCAM-LITTLE-GREEDY-CREATURE.

  • neo.mogatusi - 2012-06-22 12:54

    shame...!and wud have been just a statistic!

  • lanre.beckley.9 - 2012-06-22 12:55

    Blame everything on the Nigerians.... Even when there's rape case, u guys will always have excuses blaming the Nigerians, my question for her is simple, what is she doing with the Nigerians in the first instance if she knows they are bad news? Why can't she alert the authority as regard the threats to her life? Why can't she cut a deal to get the people that sent arrested? Pls stop givin lame excuses blaming Nigerians u walked in with ur eyes open isn't it? I bet very soon even if there's rape, hijacking, even service delivery protest, ul blame it all on the Nigerians. Take responsibility for ur sins wena.

  • jaco.botha.75 - 2012-06-22 12:55

    So say she was to scared to go to the police/customs, but now she goes to the media. The police could at least have protected her by operating quietly, but I think that she just caused herself quite a lot of damage

  • john.loveland.9 - 2012-06-22 12:55

    "claimed she was not a drug trafficker but a victim of human-trafficking" Huh.... and then she goes on to explain how went through a process to smuggle drugs...

      patricia.gerber.908 - 2012-06-22 18:51

      A study released at a National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) conference on human trafficking, ending today (24 March 2010). The report, Tsireledzani: Understanding the dimensions of human trafficking in southern Africa, says victims are mostly women, girls and boys trafficked for a variety of purposes,prostitution, begging etc and criminal activity (including drug trafficking)

  • Jeffrey Mangz Longwe - 2012-06-22 12:58

    If i hear the word 'racist' just one more time, ONE MORE TIME, im gonna lose it. This country is rotten. Public forums in the UK for example dont tolerate such nonsense. I bet this will be deleted.

      Hugh - 2012-06-23 12:56

      Consider, that by not allowing freedom of expression we tend toward a warp sense of security. The UK stifle freedoms such as speech and have reached the point where they are putting the former CCCP and Soviet Block to shame with it laws effectively ensuring every citizen is classified as a criminal. Consider Ju Ju's was not chucked out of the ANC because of his racist rants but because he went against the president and uttered on Botswana. For my part Ju Ju was the real voice of the ANC and its followers and his voice alone told us of the future. Now we have no way of knowing. So let the racist rants roll so that we know where we all stand. THERE IS WROTE THE WORD RACIST AGAIN JUST WATCH YOU SHOOT THE DOG AND KICK THE WIFE.

  • refiloe.shikwambana - 2012-06-22 13:05

    And So.

  • - 2012-06-22 13:07

    Next thing is that this will be blamed on racism

  • manford.mhlauli - 2012-06-22 13:08

    the young lady is real mad, first she was supposed to report as soon as she entered the airport or the plane she is a drug trafficker end of the story,her story is trying to buy us into her stupid ideas , enjoy whats yours for now cell, finish and klar

      amanda.danti1 - 2012-06-22 15:35

      I also don't get why she didn't do that?? The nigerians were not on the plane! She could have called the police in SA!!! But she didn't,

  • donarnolis.desilva - 2012-06-22 13:11

    always blame the boogie man and not ourselves. greed made me do it. it was easy to say no but the easy money was the appetiser and not the boogie man.

  • stephen.j.dickson.3 - 2012-06-22 13:12

    South Africa is Nigeria's bitch..................bottom line.

      Heather Stip - 2012-06-22 14:02

      Hahahahaha, Stephen! Well put!

  • maama.bujju - 2012-06-22 13:15

    but y is it only greedy south africans there so many gals in africa who are even more poorer than here but there nt greedy because they brought up in very good lifestyle where by they have to work whatever they need to to be given free things like in south africa eg grants boyfriends/hgusbands money/property.south africans gals ur good looking,sexy but very very lazy to work and u like good things,yet u dont work for them.the advice is not to kick nigerians out is to be responsible.the majority are trapped once they hear aword that ull be flying to brazil,china,etc flying is abig dream in sa yet there so many flights as cheap as R500.

  • Charlene Diana Calitz - 2012-06-22 13:37

    sweety, they were tipped off, its common knowledge that there is always 2 mules, 1 the decoy and the other the real deal carrying a lot more than u. u were just a distraction 4 the other 2 get past security and all. so while u been searched the other is on their merry way! sad but so true!!

      dtolamo1 - 2012-06-22 16:41

      I thoughts so when she ws cough,a real deal went thru shame she ws usd,wht more said is that they r usin SA gals..:-(

  • gilbert.lefakane - 2012-06-22 13:54

    ,know your way out before you get in!!

  • yvette.taljaard.9 - 2012-06-22 14:00

    The thing of blaming the ANC, ANCYL or Nigerians for the deed that was done, is just blame shifting and will not help anyone. Isn't the topic actually that Nolubabalo Nobanda could have gone to the police. Why not? Is it because nothing would have been done with regards to the fact that her life was threatend? And stopping the drug cartels? Should inadequite policing not be the actual issue?

      Randomhero6661 - 2012-06-22 14:53

      i think the solution comes to decision making, "oh wait im gonna go sell hair products in brasil today." it's very simple to see.

  • TheReal.EuanB - 2012-06-22 14:06

    I have fun trying 2 say her name.

  • Khetha Hlophe - 2012-06-22 14:06

    Honestly. Nigerians are bad news that's why we avoid them even the pastors have always have ulterior motive

  • vincent.hlwayela - 2012-06-22 14:25

    money is satan!!

  • Zinathi - 2012-06-22 14:58

    yho gal friend uzoba ryt man bt ke ungathembi namnye only god knws nge mpilo yakho themba yena akasoze akuyekele hope usifundile isifundo ngk any wayz zizokuthandazela nathi xa sithandaza eyonanto ibalulekileyo ngk (worried)

  • askido.demamz - 2012-06-22 15:10

    I really feel for this young lady, i heard that prisons over there are worse than hell.

  • nangamso.mbambo - 2012-06-22 15:17

    I read her story but I don't believe that we are being told the honest truth. Is she was desparate for money she could have sought other ways

  • jmareletse - 2012-06-22 16:08

    Nigerians knows SA gals love money dats y they used them. This gal had a choice, there is no such thing as easy money, U WORK FOR IT...

  • rethabile.rathabaneng - 2012-06-22 16:12

    i dont buy it.

  • ayasaba.amaguala - 2012-06-22 16:29

    I feel sorry for her. its all this fab life. Go to sandton u'll find whole lot of them looking like they're living large especially models, not all of them but most they hang around too much with those rich nigerians.

  • promise.ozuzu - 2012-06-22 16:42

    Trying to think! Nigeria, Nigeria, always Nigerians! Why not tell us He's names and where to get him, so we can kill him.........?

  • babalwa.nogwanya - 2012-06-22 17:12

    The responsibity of the government is to protect its citizen against all sorts of forces the citizen cannot protect themselves against.Currently the Israel is doing a massive deportation of illegal immigrants, mainly from Sub-saharan Africa in order to protect its citizens against alien crimes , competition for jobs , use of resources etc. Equally as South African , both black and white we were locked in this self contained country that was in self destruction path. Both black and white fellow citizen are languishing in foreign jails on chasing a quick buck as drug mules. Nigerians seem to be a common factor in using these people , Tersa Beegte , now Nobanda , etc. Our stars are destroyed through drugs and common culprit is pointed to Nigerians. Certainly we need protection, our migration laws or their management are not yielding the protection the citizen need from their government. When we protest we may be labelled zenophobic. It's time we look at migration , who is in the country and for what. Do we have capacity to manage all these economic migrants and " asylum seekers" and their impact to citizen and our meagre resources, police , health etc ?

      phae.rayden - 2012-06-22 17:51

      You can also use your mind to make life choices, and not the government's immigration policies.

      themba.ntuli - 2012-06-22 22:39

      your point is dumb and it comes from a simple minded person, immigration is a natural process you can't stop it, don't look further than the USA to see what migration can create. i would have understanded your point if u said that the goverment should tighten their fight agaist nigerian drug cartels not immigrantes and nigerians as a whole, this people contribute a lot to the economy and society as a whole not all those from outside our borders are criminals....

  • siliziwem - 2012-06-22 19:19

    u had a choice to go straight to the airport police

      maokeng.mankge - 2012-06-23 01:43

      Tru dat she's making up all d way frm where eva sh culd hv told d cops n report d case.How cum sh ws nt reported missing if she's telling d truth

  • leko.dada1 - 2012-06-22 19:48

    SA foreign affairs and Thailand police should give her benefit of doupt (investigate)she has a right to be heard or exposed.

  • pecos.scope - 2012-06-22 20:54

    Greed, people work for their money.omg 15 years for few thousand of rands. I don't believe her story. Hope she learned a lesson, she can't be blaming on nigerians but herself. U always have a choice in ths real life we I feel sori for her ? Yes I do.

  • atisang.mosepelovic - 2012-06-23 02:15

    Can't imagine what she's going through she doesn't know the language far from home no visitors just gta accept things as they are

      bmgabi - 2012-06-24 12:07

      I also feel pity 4 her no one is perfect in this world n it might heppen to anyone

  • millionwatts1 - 2012-06-23 08:22

    That's her story. Well the greed got her hanging around these circles of 'cash money',fast talk, fancy jeans and shoes,exotic men and accents. Its enticing but these guys are on a mission and usually are steps ahead of the stereo types in the papers so be careful out there.

  • lukombo.cliff - 2012-06-23 08:37

    I definitly don't buy the story. I bet my 6pack Heineken that if she ddnt get cought,she wld enjoy her reward big time n even try again or learn other methods.

      bmgabi - 2012-06-24 12:04

      Have messy,this young woman is in trouble

      bmgabi - 2012-06-24 12:04

      Have messy,this young woman is in trouble

  • yolande.rwaai - 2012-06-23 09:29

    Yeah right! And Elvis is alive

  • johan.jacobs.5680 - 2012-06-23 11:42

    Bottom line.Don't roll the dice if yo can,t pay the price girl.

  • mzegezulu.nhlapo - 2012-06-23 20:14

    Wise decision base on life style we live,I'm praying 4 her to serve only 4yrs out of that 15yrs,hopping she wil learn to be patient behinde those huge walls.

  • phumeza.ndyumbu - 2012-06-23 20:25

    Poor Nolubabalo, I wonder.........

  • chris.mngoma - 2012-07-02 16:24

    shame bandla, poor victim. once you get in the hands of drug smugglers you will neva have a way out, they have all corners covered, this poor lady was sold long before she even landed by same people of course if she tells the truth

  • nyiko.patricia - 2012-09-16 20:58

    I pray for you Nolubabalo that God have mercy on you and protect you where ever you are.

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