Bangkok convicted South African drug mule Nolubabalo “Babsie” Nobanda is set to be returning to South African on Thursday.
Nobanda was arrested on December 2011 upon arrival at Bangkok’s Survarnabhumi Airport, she was cought with approximately 1.5 kg of cocaine with an estimated street value of R1.2 million.
The drug mule had hidden the drugs in her deadlocks, police reportedly noticed a white substance in her hair and took her for questioning.
Nobanda told Thailand authorities that she had been hired to deliver the drugs to a customer at a hotel in Bankgok.
Initially sentenced to 30 years in prison, Nobanda’s sentence was first halved and then reduced by two-and-a-half years in May.
In August, Department of International Relations and Cooperation spokesperson Nelson Kgwete announced that Nobanda would be released from prison.
“The South African embassy in Bangkok, Thailand, has confirmed having received a written notification from the Thai authorities informing the embassy that Ms Nolubabalo Nobanda is due to be released from detention on August 27.”
Nobanda has been at an Immigration Detention Centre since her release from prison, she was undergoing administrative processing before she could be returned to the country.
DispatchLive had reported of another South African drug mule and friend of Nobanda’s, Thando Pendu, who returned to South Africa in June this year after being released from the same prison in Bangkok.
The publication had reported that the 33-year-old, who hails from Welkom in the Free State, arrived at OR Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg on June 27, where family members and supporters greeted her.
Pendu had been in prison for drug smuggling since October 2009, she was 23 years old at the time of her arrest.
She had reportedly been promised a job driving ambulances in Bangkok.
Koketso Ramorei is a journalist and news editor of SADC News with years of experience in a number of genres including sports, politics and community reporting. He has worked for a numerous publications including The Citizen Newspaper and is a former editor of a Johannesburg-based off-campus publication called The Waldorfian Times.