Accused in R583 million Saldanha cocaine bust case need court interpreters
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Cape Town - The 10 foreign nationals busted in a massive R583 million cocaine haul at the port of Saldanha Bay on Monday had their case postponed due to the need for interpreters.
The four Bulgarian and six Myanmar men, appeared in the Vredenburg Magistrate’s Court on Thursday after they were arrested on Monday evening and charged with dealing in drugs.
The police found 973 blocks of compressed cocaine in three compartments of a fishing vessel.
Spokesperson for the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) Eric Ntabazalila said the case was postponed until March 12, due to the need for interpreters.
He said the men are charged with dealing drugs and alternatively possession of drugs.
“More charges are likely to be added as investigations continue.
“The matter has been postponed to March 12 in order to secure a interpreter. Four of the accused speak Bulgarian and six speak Burmese (the official language of Myanmar).”
Ntabazalila said: “The court was advised that there is a Bulgarian interpreter who is available and registered within the system, but it looks like we are going to have to secure a interpreter for the Myanmar accused.”
When the case is back in court on March 12, the State will have to inform the court if they’ve managed secure those two interpreters.
“There was also request from the defence that the accused must not be booked or interrogated without the presence of an interpreter as that would be against their constitutional rights,” Ntabazalila said.