Calls for minister’s head after wife’s drug arrest
OPPOSITION parties are baying for the blood of Minister of State Security Siyabonga Cwele after his wife, Sheryl, was arrested by the Hawks yesterday on drug dealing charges.
Last night, claiming state security had been compromised, Cope called on the minister to resign, while the DA wanted him brought before Parliament to prove he had not been compromised. “If he fails to do so, he ought to stand down from his position right away.”
Sheryl Cwele, director of health and community services at the Hibiscus Coast Municipality, will spend the next week in jail as her bail application will be heard only next Friday at the Pieter maritzburg High Court.
Cwele has been charged with dealing in drugs, said National Prosecuting Authority spokesman Mthunzi Mhaga. “She has also been charged with two counts of incitement to dealing in dangerous dependence-producing drugs dat- ing back to May and June 2008.”
At court yesterday the indictment stated that Nigerian citizen Frank Nabolis, who was arrested by the Hawks in December on suspicion that he was a drug lord, had allegedly conspired to import cocaine into South Africa, recruiting young white women on the pretext of arranging short-term jobs for them overseas.
Hawks spokesman Musa Zondi said a woman called Charmaine Moss, the State’s main witness, claims that Cwele recruited her.
“Nabolis is linked to a syndicate that attempted to smuggle cocaine to South Africa as well as being involved in drug manufacturing in Westonaria, Gauteng. Cwele is being charged with dealing in drugs or conspiracy to deal in drugs alongside Frank Nabolis.
“Cwele and Nabolis have been charged with the procurement or instigation of Charmaine Moss to collect drugs in Turkey and the procurement or incitement of Tessa Beetge to smuggle drugs.”
State counsel, advocate Ian Cook, said that Nabolis was still in custody and would appear in the Pieter maritzburg High Court again on February 12.
In reports this week Cwele said he had no knowledge of his wife’s alleged links with Beetge, in jail in Brazil for smuggling drugs, or Nabolis.
Cope said it feared Sheryl Cwele may have used her husband’s position to gather intelligence to cover up her “nefarious activities”. It accused the ANC of a cover-up. “Minister Cwele must disclose what he knew about his wife’s activities and resign. Failing which, the executive must fire him.”
The DA’s Theo Coetzee said they were going to “request that minister Cwele be brought before Parliament” as they found it hard to believe his claims that “he knew nothing of the issue”.