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2022/05/30      |  Written By:  Captain D Sekgotodi   |   Province:  Mpumalanga

MPUMALANGA: Belinda Swart (53) pleaded guilty in the Secunda Magistrate Court on Thursday, 26 May 2022 for possession of a dangerous dependent producing substance (methamphetamine).

The conviction followed the arrest of the accused on Thursday, 13 January 2022 by the Hawks Serious Organised Crime Investigation based in Secunda together with Crime Intelligence and K9 Unit  when they promptly responded to information about a suspect allegedly dealing in drugs around Secunda on Tuesday, 11 January 2022.

A disruptive search and seizure operation was executed on the premises and the suspect was found in possession of drugs (chrystal meth). Preliminary investigation revealed that the suspect was previously arrested by the Hawks in 2018 for contravention of the Drugs and Drugs Trafficking Act. The accused was later in August 2018 found guilty and sentenced to 3 years imprisonment of which 1 year 6 months were suspended for 5 years, with the choice of acknowledgement of guilty of R12 000.00.

The accused was remanded in custody by the Secunda District Court on the first appearance on Thursday, the defence of the accused insisted to proceed with a formal bail application on schedule 5 hearing. The accused was denied bail and remanded in custody. The case was postponed to 4 April 2022 for further investigation.

On the 4 April 2022 the accused appeared in court and the court released her under strictest  court order that she goes through a  rehabilitation processes. After rehabilitation she should report to the Hawks offices in Secunda twice a week to be tested for drugs. The accused went through all the processes of rehabilitation and drugs test assisted by the investigating officer until she completed the order.

On Thursday, 26 May 2022 she was sentenced to 14 months imprisonment suspended for 5 years. The state made an application in terms of Sec 297 sub sec 9aii so that the previous conviction, dealing in drugs be put in operation. The Secunda Hawks also arrested the said accused for dealing in drugs in 2019. The accused also pleaded guilty on that occasion and was sentenced for dealing in drugs. Additional sentence was posed on the accused for a fine of R9000 on her previous conviction.

The court made it clear to her that this was her final warning, that she should not be found guilty for similar crime. 

The Provincial Head of  the Directorate For Priority Crime Investigation Major General Zodwa Mokoena applauded the enormous effort by the investigating officer and further informed the community that arresting the perpetrators is not to punish them. She also appreciated the community for giving information about criminal activities within their midst".