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The mother of convicted drug mule Tessa Beetge has died in an East London hospital after a short illness, the SABC reported yesterday.
Marie Swanepoel helped gather evidence that led to the conviction and sentencing of Sheryl Cwele, the ex-wife of State Security Minister Siyabonga Cwele. In her testimony, Swanepoel proved through a series of e-mails and SMSes that Cwele had sent Beetge to South America to courier 10kg of cocaine for Cwele and her co-accused, Frank Nabolisa.
They were found guilty of drug dealing by the Pietermaritzburg High Court in May 2011. Each were sentenced to 12 years in jail. The Supreme Court of Appeal later increased their sentences to 20 years.
In subsequent Constitutional Court appeals, their original sentences were reinstated.
Beetge is serving eight years in Sao Paolo, Brazil. She was arrested there in 2008. - Sapa