Nolubabalo Nobanda after returning from Thai Prison. Picture: Johnnie Isaac
Nolubabalo Nobanda after returning from Thai Prison. Picture: Johnnie Isaac

Convicted drug mule's lawyer suspects drug trafficking ring behind social media attacks

By Johnnie Isaac Time of article published Sep 27, 2019

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Port Elizabeth - Convicted drug mule Nolubabalo Nobanda says she won't allow herself to be dragged into the mud by attention seekers that are using social media to assassinate her character.

Speaking through her family lawyer, Matthew Mpahlwa, Nobanda said social media allegations that are seeking to discredit her are baseless and without any evidence to back them up.

Mpahlwa said these vicious attacks on Nobanda could be driven by the drug trafficking ring in the country, which has a vendetta against her and is paying attention to each minute details of her life in order to degrade and humiliate her. 

This follows social media claims by someone who calls herself Avuzwa Lawukazi McCarthy. 

In a series of Facebook posts, McCarthy claims that Nobanda's account of her circumstances about her trip to Brazil is false as she was fully aware that she was going there to smuggle drugs, not to go on holiday. 

McCarthy also revealed that Nobanda's arrest was planned in order to distract Thailand airport customs authority to focus on her while she [McCarthy] and other drug mules escaped arrest. 

Nobanda was arrested on December 2011 at Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi Airport in Thailand after cocaine was found wrapped in her dreadlocks. She was sentenced to 15 years imprisonment, but was released earlier in September after serving eight years of her sentence.

Her return to South Africa last week was met with mixed emotions with detractors complaining about what they dubbed as "a hero's welcome for a convicted criminal."

In her media interviews she reiterated that she thought her trip to Brazil was a holiday but McCarthy has given a different version of events.

Nolubabalo Nobanda Flanked by her lawyer Matthew Mpahlwa and her sister Mila Ncepu. Picture: Johnnie Isaac

In her Facebook posts, McCarthy tagged Sulezi Rwanqa who was alleged to be the one who recruited Nobanda.

However, Nobanda said she doesn't recall any person with the name Avuzwa Lawukazi McCarthy.

On Rwanqa, Nobanda referred to her interview with I'solezwe LesiXhosa where she said she gave the names of people that were involved in her recruitment and subsequent trip to Brazil and arrest to authorities and would prefer not to say anything further.

Her lawyer, Mpahlwa further said: "The said allegations regarding Nolubabalo’s arrest are merely tawdry claptrap which is not even collaborated by an iota of evidence. It is based on a glittering generality that is designed to disguise the truth rather than to elucidate it."

Mpahlwa said the claims are blatant lies that any person who knows Nobanda would reject them as a product of character assassins.

"Save to inform you that the said allegations regarding the capture of Nolubabalo Nobanda as offered by these alleged drug mules (who are still at large) are replete with factual inaccuracies, innuendos and defamatory statements concerning Nolubabalo Nobanda. We wish to place on record that Nobanda does not wish to be drawn in this fray of a social media circus," he said.

Attempts to get further comments from both McCarthy and Rwanqa were unsuccessful.

I'solezwe LesiXhosa

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