Po­lice­woman’s Brazil drug bust shocks neigh­bours

Sunday Times - - FRONT PAGE - By KHANYI NDABENI

To her neigh­bours, Khan­i­mamba Maluleke was a model cit­i­zen: the sin­gle mother of two young chil­dren, a po­lice con­sta­ble and a com­mit­ted Chris­tian.

So they were sur­prised to hear this week that the 33-year-old had been ar­rested at São Paulo In­ter­na­tional Air­port in Brazil with six bricks of co­caine in her lug­gage. “We were shocked when her mother told us what hap­pened to her,” said a friend who lives close to Maluleke in Kens­ing­ton, Jo­han­nes­burg.

“She was also cry­ing and didn’t be­lieve what had just hap­pened to her daugh­ter.”

She said Maluleke had a one-year-old son and a seven-year-old daugh­ter.

“Her older sis­ter came to fetch them on Fri­day. I don’t be­lieve she is a drug smug­gler. Maybe it is some­thing that she was do­ing for the first time. I’ve known her to be a Chris­tian woman. She loved her two chil­dren.”

A ten­ant told the Sun­day Times they had last seen Maluleke, who comes from Lim­popo and works at the Cleve­land po­lice sta­tion, on Wed­nes­day.

De­part­ment of In­ter­na­tional Re­la­tions and Co-op­er­a­tion spokesman Nel­son Kg­wete said Maluleke was in de­ten­tion in Brazil and due to ap­pear in court soon.

“She was trav­el­ling to Jo­han­nes­burg in­ter­na­tional air­port when she was caught with six bricks of co­caine in her lug­gage on Thurs­day night. Dirco was made aware of the in­ci­dent on Fri­day,” said Kg­wete.

The ar­rest had been made by Brazil­ian po­lice and In­ter­pol. He said the South African con­sulate in São Paulo was work­ing with the Brazil­ian au­thor­i­ties.

Na­tional po­lice spokesman Brigadier Vishnu Naidoo de­clined to com­ment and re­ferred ques­tions to Dirco. He said Maluleke was not do­ing po­lice work in Brazil and her case should be treated like that of any other normal cit­i­zen ar­rested in a for­eign coun­try. “We could only give a com­ment if she was ar­rested here in South Africa, but for now only Dirco can com­ment on this case.”

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