Convicted KZN drug mule, Tessa Beetge will finally return home after having been locked up in a Brazilian jail for five and a half years.
SAfm reported in their 11pm news bulletin on Monday night that her father, Gert Swanepoel, had received confirmation from the Department of International Relations that his daughter had been released.
“I can’t wait to see Tessa, I have been longing to see her for such a long time. I’ve missed her,” Swanepoel said.
A former South Coast resident, Beetge was sentenced to 12 years imprisonment after being caught smuggling 10kg of cocaine for Sheryl Cwele – the now ex-wife of State Security Minister Siyabonga Cwele – and Nigerian Frank Nabolisa at São Paulo Airport in 2008.
Late last year, The Mercury reported that authorities were considering releasing her on parole, but that neither Beetge nor Swanepoel were happy about the idea.
“My wife and I always said that we would prefer for her not to be released on parole, especially in a foreign country like that,” Swanepoel said.
“She has no money and no family to stay with and we will not be able to support her from this side.”
While Beetge has been in prison, she has missed seeing her two daughters growing up and lost her mother, who died of organ failure in East London in October.
Cwele and Nabolisa were convicted of using Beetge to smuggle drugs from Brazil to South Africa.
The Mercury reported last year that the State had lost its application for leave to appeal in the Pietermaritzburg High Court against the 12-year sentence given to Nabolisa.
He and Cwele were convicted by Pietermaritzburg High Court Judge Piet Koen in May 2011 of dealing in cocaine, and were each sentenced to 12 years in jail.
They appealed, and the Supreme Court of Appeal increased their sentences to 20 years each.
Nabolisa took the matter to the Constitutional Court, and had his original 12-year sentence reinstated. The State then applied for leave to appeal and was turned down.
Meanwhile, a second South African woman has been arrested in Kenya for possession of drugs.
En route to Gaborone, Botswana, from São Paulo, Brazil, the woman was arrested at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport, Nairobi, on Friday.
She was found in possession of cocaine worth more than R500 000.
According to The Standard Digital, a news site based in Nairobi, police said that by Saturday she had expelled 73 pellets, and was still under observation.
“We expect that she will be emitting more pellets and hope to arraign her early this week,” airport police head Joseph Ngisa said.
Her arrest followed that of a compatriot, who was found at the same airport with drugs worth R620 000, earlier last week.
She was charged in court on Friday according to Coast Week, a newspaper based in Mombasa. The outcome of the charges is unknown.
Coast Week reported that Kenya was a hub for drugs destined for Europe from Asia and the Middle East, and that most of the hard drugs originated from Brazil.