Jailed overseas: Most have drug raps

2012-03-19 22:36

Johannesburg -Two-thirds of the nearly 1 000 South Africans jailed abroad are locked up for drug crimes, the department of international relations and co-operation said on Monday, after a Durban headmistress was jailed in Britain on cocaine charges.

"Of 985 South Africans in custody in overseas prisons, 67% were arrested for drug-related offences," international relations and co-operation spokesperson Clayson Monyela told AFP.

The country has seen a series of high-profile drug mule cases, ranging from flight attendants on national airline South African Airways to the wife of the state security minister.

In the most recent case, 45-year-old Durban headmistress Annabella Momplé, a dual South African and Irish citizen, was sentenced last week in Britain to almost five years in prison for trying to smuggle cocaine worth £350 000 (R4.3m) through Heathrow airport.

She was stopped by border police during a routine check and a search of her rucksack revealed "a number of towels wrapped inside polythene bags", the British border agency said in a statement.

"The towels contained an equivalent of around 2.5kg of pure cocaine, with a street value of £350 000," it said.

In December last year a court in China executed a South African woman for drug smuggling, prompting a national outcry.

Other South Africans, mostly women, are languishing in jails in Thailand, Mauritius and Brazil.

In May last year Sheryl Cwele, the then-wife of State Security Minister Siyabonga Cwele, was sentenced to 12 years in prison for drug trafficking after she was convicted of recruiting mules to bring in narcotics from Latin America. The couple has since divorced.

South African Airways in 2009 was forced to introduce tough anti-drug measures after 30 of its crew members were arrested for drug smuggling.

  • Peter - 2012-03-19 22:46

    Any reason that we don't stop them taking the drugs out of South Africa?

      christival - 2012-03-19 22:52

      Very relevant point of departure ...

      John - 2012-03-19 23:04

      Peter, If you following press articles correctly, you'll find that drugs was transported not from South Africa.

      seanpresherhughes_1 - 2012-03-19 23:48

      @ John - if you read the news more often you would have known by now that South Africa is THE drug hub of the world, so what is the point to your subject? Drugs travel through our customs like Smarties in a sweet shop!

      seanpresherhughes_1 - 2012-03-19 23:51

      Both in and out Peter!

      John - 2012-03-20 01:53

      @Sean South Africa is not THE DRUG HUB of the World. I don't know from where you sourcing ideas like that. Being a HIGH LEVEL CONSUMER doesn't makes you a HIGH LEVEL DISTRIBUTOR. Many of those drugs that you mentioning are not even touching our customs. Transiting goods is not a distribution...and South Africa is not in the top 10 transport hubs of the world. Western Africa, Central Africa and East Africa has transported more goods individualy than South Africa. Forget about that biggest hub. Get some stats about. True our customs are traveling only parcels for the local

      bluzulu - 2012-03-20 07:28

      @ Peter, Cocaine is produced in South America and Herion in Asia, There is no Africa on either of these continents,

      Belinda - 2012-04-13 14:21

      @John, South Africa is indeed the worlds fastest growing hub, due to inadequate policing but mostly due to corruption and deep involvement at high levels of Govt and Police. Cocaine comes from South America and heroin from Asia into South Africa and is then re-routed into Africa, Europe, UK and Australia. Believe it or not, at least 30kg of heroin is transported from South Africa to Mauritius every month to feed their addiction. Recruiting South Africans as mules is easy with our high levels of unemployment; promises of money, all-expenses-paid overseas holidays and law enforcement on route paid to let them through is common place. Little do they realise that most are being set up as a decoy by the same people that send them. There are approximately 15 South Africans arrested in foreign countries every month for drug trafficking (the reality is often kept quiet from the media). South Africa does have an appetite for these drugs but what is consumed here is minimal compared to what is being re-routed. See website lockedup . co . za for more info

  • seanpresherhughes_1 - 2012-03-19 23:50

    Not at all a good reputation for SA's customs is it???? What is our government strategy against this, if at all?

      Belinda - 2012-04-13 14:26

      Their strategy is to make a few arrests of small-fry so it appears they are doing their jobs but behind closed doors they are milking the trade for all it's worth because those who are involved are creaming the money.

  • Funke - 2012-03-20 00:18

    Which Way Is South Africa heading to.... It wasn't so in d beginning. There's going to be a revival in this land...

  • Joseph - 2012-03-20 03:27

    looks like our main export these days is DRUGS!!!!!

  • Zion - 2012-03-20 06:21

    So now South Africa is exporting its crime.

  • dooskop - 2012-03-20 07:09

    O' if it aint drug mules etc., it is rapists and murderers' and BIG TIME THIEFS .. +++++++++++ so where to now!!!!??????? just seems to be no light at the end of the tunnel.. Shame on YOU ALL who destroy our beautiful LAND SOUTH AFRICA!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Squeegee - 2012-03-20 07:16

    People, the mules were South African but the drugs did not originate here or even enter RSA. These people fly out to South America -and other places, and then try to transport drugs into different countries.

      patricia.gerber.908 - 2012-07-01 14:37

      The drugs that entered Mauritius was on a direct flight from SA to Mauritius!

  • William - 2012-03-20 07:28

    in our days some people think of selling drugs where is our new leaders if world change like this? let us fight a crime together we can make beautful world if we are united.

  • Nico - 2012-03-20 07:57

    Strange that Sheryl Cwele never fainted ....... (like all her criminal buddies)

      Belinda - 2012-04-13 14:30

      never fainted and didn't check herself into a hospital with flu-like symptoms or a terminal disease LOL

  • nanasei.kobbina - 2012-03-20 09:00

    What will happen if we legalise drugs? will it stop abuse? we legalise it and make it expensive then we wont have to pay tolls? What will be the consequences of such action

      lana.vdwesthuizen - 2012-03-20 09:22

      Consequences = even worse behaved youth, crime rate rockets as druggies need CASH to buy the drugs, legalising drugs mean increase in poverty, unemployment. Not to mention murders and other violent crimes increasing as the users cannot think or reason in any way. I have NEVER come across any family that thought their child is better off or that they are better off because drugs. Drugs destroy families, societies and individuals. There is NO positive.

      lana.vdwesthuizen - 2012-03-20 09:24

      I forgot to mention that somebody will have to pay for rehabs and special care once the users are so badly effected that they cannot even feed themselves. Health service costs will be HUGE!

      nanasei.kobbina - 2012-03-20 09:41

      Thank you for the response, seems there is no win situation, a lot of famous people abuse it, i thot maybe if they legalise it will be the same as alcohol/tobacco but appears they (drugs) are the worst

      Belinda - 2012-04-13 14:46

      Portugal recently celebrated 10 years of legalised drugs. Today they have the lowest drug problem in Europe and instead of wasting millions on law enforcement the money is spent on clinics, rehab centers and education, with great success. The Netherlands is the same. Google the info. There is a global movement to legalise drugs worldwide and stop the Drug War because so much is being spent but achieving so little. Petitions to Mr Ban Ki Moon of the United Nations by Richard Branson and several ex-USA Presidents has elicited a task team to investigate the prospects. Bear in mind that only 80 years ago (1933) alcohol was as illegal in the USA as cocaine is today and it was only because of the bloodshed in the trafficking (bootlegging) that the USA had to make a decision and legalise it. No drugs are good, not even those legal ones prescribed by doctors, but as long as people want to enhance their experience of life with substances they will find a way, legal or not. Legalisation, strict control and clean products is [unfortunately] the lesser of two evils. Bear in mind that the root of the worlds drug issue lies with the end-user. If the end-user didn't create the demand there'd be no supply. Same as the rhino poaching. If the asian men weren't creating the demand there'd be no poaching.

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