Cape Town - 100130 - picture of a picture of Tessa Beetge who is imprisoned in a Brazillian jail for alledgedly smuggling cocaine. Picture Mathieu Dasnois

Johannesburg - Among those most eagerly awaiting the return of convicted drug mule Tessa Beetge to South Africa from Brazil are her two teenaged daughters.

Their father, Jan Beetge, said on Friday night the girls had been informed of her pending return after five and a half years in jail.

“Any child will look forward to seeing their mother,” he said, adding that he had had custody of the girls since Tessa left him in 2002, long before she was arrested. However, she had had access to them every second weekend.

“They haven’t seen her in nearly six years. They will have to start developing a whole new relationship.”

Jan and his family recently moved from KwaZulu-Natal to Gauteng.

Meanwhile, although Brazil may have announced Beetge’s expulsion, for her loved ones the hurry-up-and-wait game continues.

Both Tessa’s father, Gert “Swannie” Swanepoel, from Margate, and her aunt, Margie Olsen, remain in the dark about when she will return to South Africa, or which port of entry she will use.


They said there had been little contact with her in ages, particularly after prison authorities had clamped down on inmates’ access to telephone calls.

Swanepoel said he had been getting information from a former fellow inmate of his daughter’s who had since been freed and returned home “and still has contacts over there”.

He expected her to stay with the woman for a limited period so that she could adjust to freedom and being back in South Africa.

Saturday Star