Pretoria – The Secunda District Court has sentenced drug trader Belinda Swart, aged 53, to 14 months imprisonment, suspended for five years.
Swart was arrested on January 13 by the Hawks’ Serious Organised Crime Investigation unit based in Secunda, in conjunction with Crime Intelligence and the K9 unit. The police units were reacting to information about drug dealing taking place around Secunda.
“A disruptive search and seizure operation was executed on the premises and the suspect (Swart) was found in possession of drugs, crystal meth,” said Hawks provincial spokesperson in Mpumalanga, Captain Dineo Lucy Sekgotodi.
After her arrest, Hawks investigations revealed that Swart was previously arrested in 2018 for contravention of the Drugs and Drugs Trafficking Act.
She had been found guilty in August 2018 and sentenced to three years imprisonment, of which one year and six months were suspended for five years. In that sentence, she was given an option of paying R12 000 acknowledgement of guilt.
Following the arrest in January, the Hawks said Swart was denied bail on the serious Schedule 5 offence she was charged with. The case was postponed to April 4, for further investigation.
“On April 4, 2022, the accused appeared in court and the court released her under strictest court order that she goes through a rehabilitation process. After rehabilitation she should report to the Hawks offices in Secunda twice a week to be tested for drugs.
“The accused went through all the processes of rehabilitation and drugs test, assisted by the investigating officer until she completed the order,” said Sekgotodi.
During sentencing on Thursday, the State made an application that Swart’s previous conviction, for the 2018 drug related crimes, be put in operation.
The court also heard that in 2019, the Hawks in Secunda had also arrested Swart for dealing in drugs.
“The accused also pleaded guilty on that occasion and was sentenced for dealing in drugs. Additional sentence was imposed on the accused for a fine of R9 000 on her previous conviction.
“The court made it clear to her that this was her final warning, and that she should not be found guilty for a similar crime,” said Sekgotodi.
Meanwhile, provincial head of the Hawks in Mpumalanga, Major General Zodwa Mokoena has saluted “the enormous effort by the investigating officer” and praised the community for coming forward with information on criminal activities.