Beetge expected home today

The woman convicted in Brazil of acting as a drug mule for Sheryl Cwele will land in SA this morning.

A screenshot of Tessa Beegte being interviewed on SABC’s Special Assignment. Picture: via YouTube.

JOHANNESBURG - Convicted drug mule Tessa Beetge is expected to land at OR Tambo International Airport early this morning after spending almost six years in a Brazilian prison for transporting drugs belonging to Sheryl Cwele.

Cwele is the ex-wife of State Security Minister Siyabonga Cwele.

Cwele at the Pietermaritzburg High Court, 5 February 2010. Picture: Sapa.

Beetge was initially sentenced to 12 years in the South American country after she was caught with 10.2 kilograms of cocaine in her luggage in 2008.

Last month, the Brazilian authorities informed Beetge's family that she would be released early.

It's the moment Beetge's mother Marie Swanepoel fought for; to see her daughter back in South Africa with her and her two daughters who are now 17 and 15.

But Swanepoel passed away while Beetge was still serving her jail term.

Beetge's aunt Margie Olsen says her sister would have loved to share this special moment.

"I'm just extremely sorry that Maria is not here to witness this, but I will be there for her daughter. I will do everything I can to give her support."

Olsen and Beetge's friend (R) await her arrival at OR Tambo International Airport. Picture: Christa van der Walt/EWN.

Sheryl Cwele and her Nigerian accomplice Frank Nabolisa were found guilty of using Beetge to smuggle drugs in May 2011.

In October 2012, Cwele and Nabolisa were slapped with 20-year sentences after appealing an earlier ruling to the Supreme Court of Appeal.

They were originally sentenced to just 12 years but the judgment handed down by the Bloemfontein court dismissed their appeals and increased their sentences.

Last year, however, Nabolisa's sentence was returned to 12 years by the Constitutional Court