‘Dreadlock Drug Mule’ to be released from Thai prison
Convicted South African drug mule Nolubabalo “Babsie” Nobanda is to be released from a Bangkok jail and is heading back to South Africa.
“The South African embassy in Bangkok, Thailand, has confirmed having received written notification from the Thai authorities informing the embassy that Ms Nolubabalo Nobanda is due to be released from detention on 27 August 2019, bar any unforeseen circumstances,” Department of International Relations and Cooperation spokesperson Nelson Kgwete said on Wednesday.
He added that, after Nobanda’s release from prison, she would be moved to an Immigration Detention Centre (IDC), from where she would undergo more administrative processing before she could return to the country.
“The SA Embassy in Bangkok is not in control of this process and Dirco is therefore not in a position to predict when exactly she will depart from Thailand. The embassy will closely monitor the process and remain in contact with the Thai authorities to facilitate her soonest possible return to SA,” Kgwete said.
Nobanda was arrested at Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi Airport on December 12, 2011, after getting off a Qatar Airways flight.
Approximately 1.5kg of cocaine was found in her dreadlocks after police noticed a white substance in her hair.
Nobanda told Thailand authorities that she had been hired to deliver the drugs to a customer at a hotel in Bangkok.
Initially sentenced to 30 years in prison, Nobanda’s sentence was first halved and then reduced by two-and-a-half years in May.
Henk Vanstaen, a Thailand resident who assists South Africans incarcerated in the kingdom, confirmed Nobanda’s release to HeraldLIVE.
He reportedly said she would be taken to the prison where she was initially apprehended to be fingerprinted.
After this, she would be transferred to the IDC.
Vanstaen told HeraldLIVE it was expected that she would fly back to South Africa about five days later.