Drugs verdict on hold for S.African minister's wife

4th May 2011, Comments 0 comments

Judgement was postponed in the drug trafficking case against the wife of South Africa's state security minister Wednesday after prosecutors asked to introduce new evidence.

Sheryl Cwele, who is married to minister Siyabonga Cwele, is accused of conspiring with a Nigerian man to bring cocaine into the country using young white South African women as drug mules.

Cwele, who was arrested in January 2010 and has been out on bail, was due to hear the verdict in her case Wednesday.

But prosecutors applied to reopen the case, telling the high court in the eastern city of Pietermaritzburg that the state planned to introduce new evidence against Cwele and co-accused Frank Nabolisa.

Both defendants have denied the charges against them.

Cwele's husband was not in court Wednesday, but was present at her bail hearing in February last year.

Allegations of Cwele's drug trafficking surfaced in 2009 after the arrest of Tessa Beetge, a South African woman caught in Brazil with cocaine worth almost $300,000 (202,000 euros).

Beetge's parents told a South African newspaper that Cwele, a former neighbour, had arranged their daughter's trip to Brazil after offering her a job overseas.

Cwele's arrest has led to opposition calls for her husband's resignation.

© 2011 AFP

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