Eastern Cape mandrax druglord Livingstone Napoleon, 61, has evaded a 10-year prison sentence after entering into a plea agreement with the state to pay a fine of one million rand instead.
Livingstone was found guilty of drug dealing, drug possession and money laundering in early August.
Sanca’s Eastern Cape director Roger Weimann was outraged at the leniency of the sentence, which he feared would set a precedent.
He said there was a huge increase in drug use in East London communities, with the majority of users under the age of 30.
“We are seeing an increase in the numbers seeking rehabilitation for substance use disorder – an increase of around 34% over 2017.”
He added: “We are seeing a marked increase in the number of youths using [addictive] substances.
“Of the service users seeking treatment between July and December 2017, 79% were under 34.
“Of these, 27% were under the age of 19.”
Responding to the Dispatch’s questions on Monday, national prosecuting authority (NPA) spokesperson Tsepo Ndwalaza told of how the deal was struck.
He wrote: “The senior state advocate Nceba Ntelwa [was] duly authorised in writing by the national director of public prosecution, as required by Section 105A(1)(a) of the Criminal Procedure Act 51 of 1977, to negotiate and enter into an agreement with the accused.
Prosecutor Bonginkosi Mafa was then “duly authorised to conduct proceedings in court on behalf of the state in connection with this agreement, after it has been duly entered into”, he explained.
“Ntelwa and the accused, represented by Leon Van der Merwe of Liddell, Weeber and Van der Merwe of Wynberg [Cape Town] negotiated and entered into this agreement in respect of a plea of guilty by the accused to the offences of which he may be convicted on the charge, as well as a just sentence to be imposed by the court.”
He said Napoleon had admitted guilt and Ntelwa had accepted the plea of guilty.
Ndwalaza said the mitigating factors were: “Napoleon’s age, he is married and has six children, the youngest being 23 years, who resides with him and his wife; he only completed Grade 8 at school, he is unemployed and his health status is bad and he had just been medically operated [on].”
The details of the case are:
On March 25 2015, Napoleon sold 500 mandrax tablets to a narcotics officer during a covert operation in his Fynbos house;
He was caught in another sting a few weeks later on April 16, when he sold 1,019 mandrax tablets to another narcotics officer; and
He was further found guilty of possessing 3,181 mandrax tablets that were discovered inside his house during a police raid on July 8 2015.
State prosecutor Nceba Ntelwa told the Dispatch on Monday that R1.3m in cash was found at Napoleon’s house.
Ntelwa said the druglord was sentenced on August 4, and has already paid R400,000.
“He will pay R50,000 monthly for the remaining amount in his sentence.”
Let us send harsher messages because the same people will go back to the community and continue to sell
The sentence was called a tap on the wrist by organisations fighting drug abuse and addiction in Buffalo City.
Weimann said: “The problem of drug abuse in South Africa, and in East London, goes beyond the financial implications that this case appears to imply, in that it is tearing at the very fabric of our society.
“Drug use and abuse lies at the heart of many social ills experienced within our world – domestic violence and child abuse to name a few, and without stricter adherence to the laws laid out by the state for these crimes the problem will continue to escalate.”
Provincial manager at Nicro and representative of the Provincial Substance Abuse Forum, Antony Chakuwamba, said, “This is a clear-cut issue. We are busy fighting for supply and demand reduction. With issues that deal with supplying of drugs, then, really, the law has to take its course.”
He called for a harsher sentence. “It is a decision of the court and we have to respect the court’s decisions. But we call on society and the criminal justice system to take drugs very seriously. We call for much tougher sentences for people found dealing in drugs because they can afford fines.
“We can’t just let someone get away with a minor sentence. If he can afford that money then definitely he will be out. Let us send harsher messages because the same people will go back to the community and continue to sell the drugs.”
Eastern Cape police spokesman captain Khaya Tonjeni declined to comment.
“We do not comment for other departments.
“We did our part. The justice department will be better suited to respond on the matter.
“They can elaborate on what they considered before the sentence was handed down.”
By Bhongo Jacob
DispatchLIVE – https://www.dispatchlive.co.za/news/2018-08-21-self-confessed-druglord-walks-free-after-r1m-fine/