Dreadlock drug mule ‘used as a decoy’ in Thailand

After a month and half of having no contact with her family, South African drug mule Nolubabalo Nobanda, who was arrested in Thailand after she was found to be smuggling cocaine in her dreadlocks, has written to her parents from prison in Bangkok.

Nobanda has written to her family revealing critical information of how she landed up in Thailand, claiming to have been used as a “decoy” by a Brazilian drug syndicate.

Nobanda also wrote that she would not be charged by Bangkok authorities for the baking powder which was found mixed with the cocaine when she was arrested.

Nobanda was arrested at Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi Airport after getting off a Qatar Airways flight. Police said they noticed a white substance in her hair. They found 1.5kg of cocaine with an estimated street value of R1.2-million in her dreadlocks.

She admitted to authorities she smuggled the drugs and said she was hired to deliver the cocaine to a customer at a hotel in Bangkok.

Since then she has been detained in prison waiting for her formal court appearance on March 19.

In a letter received by her family this week, Nobanda wrote that she was in good spirits and upbeat about the coming trial since she would only be charged for attempting to smuggle 600g of cocaine rather than the initial 1.5kg as earlier reported.

This could considerably reduce her sentence.

Legal advisor
Nobanda also wrote that at the time of her arrest she was with her friend Sulezi Rwanqa. She wrote that Rwanqa betrayed her and successfully made a safe return to South Africa.

When asked where Rwanqa was, locals in Grahamstown said they had spotted her partying in different taverns in the township.

One of the locals, who did not want to be named, said he had spotted her last week.

“I saw Sulezi last week in Makhaya’s tavern. Since her return she has had her hair cut off but that day everyone was gossiping about her return from Bangkok,” he said.

In her latest letter this week, Nobanda told her parents that she was appointed a Bangkok state lawyer.

The family said it would also be sending a legal adviser and a family member to comfort Nobanda during her court appearance in March.

“I can confirm to you that a family member will travel to attend the trial and we are communicating with the South African embassy that side,” Nobanda’s mother Honjiswa Mbewu said.

Used as a decoy
In the emotional letter Nobanda asked her family for their understanding and forgiveness.

“First and probably the most important thing I want to say is I’m sorry to all of you. I know that I have disappointed, hurt and humiliated the whole family. I ask for forgiveness,” Nobanda wrote.

In her letter, Nobanda also indicated that she was coping in prison and praying hard for a safe return home.

“I try to stay strong and ask of God to strengthen me every day. The bottom line is, in life one has to pay for the mistakes they make and I have come to accept my punishment. My only regret now is that you also have to suffer because of my mistakes,” she wrote.

Nobanda also admitted in one of her letters that she was used as some kind of a decoy, because she had refused to collaborate with a drug syndicate in Brazil.

It was not clear what she, as a decoy, might have been distracting authorities from.

In fear of what might happen to her and her family, she decided to board a plane to Bangkok, where she was caught.

She wrote that things got bad when she was welcomed by a man in Brazil and not her friend Rwanqa, who had travelled to Brazil two days earlier to prepare for work. — Sapa

Staff Reporter
Guest Author

Workers fight job-creation ‘mess’

Former Ekurhuleni workers argued in court that a programme promising to equip them with skills simply acted as a labour broker for the municipality

Court dissolves local municipality

Landmark judgment paves the way for South Africans to use legal system to hold councils responsible

Mabuza’s ‘distant relative’ scored big

Eskom’s woes are often because of boiler problems at its power plants. R50-billion has been set aside to fix them, but some of the contracts are going to questionable entities

ANC faction gunning for Gordhan

The ambush will take place at an NEC meeting about Eskom. But the real target is Cyril Ramaphosa

Press Releases

New-style star accretion bursts dazzle astronomers

Associate Professor James O Chibueze and Dr SP van den Heever are part of an international team of astronomers studying the G358-MM1 high-mass protostar.

2020 risk outlook: Use GRC to build resilience

GRC activities can be used profitably to develop an integrated risk picture and response, says ContinuitySA.

MTN voted best mobile network

An independent report found MTN to be the best mobile network in SA in the fourth quarter of 2019.

Is your tertiary institution is accredited?

Rosebank College is an educational brand of The Independent Institute of Education, which is registered with the Department of Higher Education and Training.

Is your tertiary institution accredited?

Rosebank College is an educational brand of The Independent Institute of Education, which is registered with the Department of Higher Education and Training.

VUT chancellor, Dr Xolani Mkhwanazi, dies

The university conferred the degree of Doctor of Science Honoris Causa on Dr Xolani Mkhwanazi for his outstanding leadership contributions to maths and science education development.

Innovate4AMR now in second year

SA's Team pill-Alert aims to tackle antimicrobial resistance by implementing their strategic intervention that ensures patients comply with treatment.

Medical students present solution in Geneva

Kapil Narain and Mohamed Hoosen Suleman were selected to present their strategic intervention to tackle antimicrobial resistance to an international panel of experts.