6 May 2011

Minister's wife convicted of drug trafficking

8:29 am on 6 May 2011

The wife of the Minister of State Security in South Africa has been convicted of drug trafficking.

Sheryl Cwele, who is married to Siyabonga Cwele, recruited women to smuggle drugs into the country from Turkey and South America.

Rumours of drug trafficking surfaced in 2009 after the arrest of a South African woman caught in Brazil with cocaine worth $US300,000.

Tessa Beetge is currently serving an eight-year jail sentence in Sao Paulo. She was found with 10kg of cocaine in her luggage.

Cwele was convicted on Thursday at the High Court in Pietermaritzburg.

She and an accomplice, Frank Nabolisa, a Nigerian national, had pleaded not guilty. Sentencing is due on Friday. They face 15 years in prison.

The BBC reports the opposition has called for Mr Cwele to step down.