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SA drug mule sentenced to 15 years

Nolubabalo Nobanda was caught at Bangkok airport with drugs in her dreadlocks.

Convicted SA drug mule Nolubabalo Nobanda at the Bangkok International Airport. Picture: Supplied

CAPE TOWN - Convicted South African drug mule Nolubabalo Nobanda was on Monday sentenced to 15 years in a Thailand prison and fined R250,000.

The sentencing was confirmed by the office of the South African ambassador in Thailand.

The Eastern Cape resident was arrested at the Bangkok International Airport in December for smuggling drugs which was hidden in her dreadlocks.

Officials spotted white residue on her hair when she arrived in Bangkok on a Qatar Airways flight from Brazil.

The former Wits University student admitted to smuggling cocaine worth R1.2 million and said she was meant to hand it over to a contact at a hotel in Bangkok.

Nobanda (23) from Grahamstown had no family present at her sentencing.

Two years will be added to Nobanda's sentence if she fails to pay a

R250,000 fine, the International Relations Department said on Tuesday.

The department's Clayson Monyela said embassy staff would visit her on a regular basis.

"The 30 year sentence was reduced to 15 years, given her cooperation."

Nobanda was taken into custody after landing in Bangkok.

Her Mother, Honjiswa Mbewu, who was supposed top be with her daughter was advised by doctors not fly due to ill health.

She confirmed yesterday that the family also planned to send a legal advisor, but this too was cancelled.

Nobanda's sentencing comes just a few months after fellow Eastern Cape resident and Miss SA finalist Vanessa Gooden was released from a Thai prison for drug smuggling.

Goosen (38) spent more than 16 years of an original 35-year sentence in a Thai prison, which she described as a living hell.

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