Calls for min­is­ter’s head af­ter wife’s drug ar­rest

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - FRONT PAGE - FIONA GOUNDEN

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”.

Sh­eryl Cwele

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