Janice’s sisters tell of last visit

NEWS/CRIME-COURTS /13 December 2011 at 12:37pm

By: Mpume Madlala

“You must come and see me soon.” These were the tearful words of Janice Linden to her two sisters, Nomalizwi Mhlophe and Priscilla Mthalane, during a 45-minute visit at Guandong prison in China, the day before she was executed by lethal injection.

She was not aware that she was going to die and one of the conditions of the visit was that her sisters from Durban were not allowed to tell her.

Linden, 36, was arrested three years ago at the Baiyun International Airport after 3kg of tik (methamphetamine) was found in her luggage.

She only found out on Monday that a court appeal against her execution had failed. She was executed a short while later.

Speaking to the Daily News on Monday evening, Mthalane said they were still in shock about everything that they had experienced in China. When Linden was brought to them, she was chained to what looked like a wheelchair and her hands and feet tied.

“We were separated by glass and had between 10 and 15 Chinese policemen watching us and listening to our every word.

“They said we must only speak English and that we could not tell her that our uncle and mother had passed away in September or that she too was going to be killed,” she said, still sounding distraught.

Mthalane said Linden, whom they had not seen since 2008, had cried like a child with joy to see them and when she asked how their mother was, they had to lie and say she was fine.

She said it was the hardest thing for them not to be able to tell her that they were seeing each other for the last time or even hug her.

“We asked to sprinkle holy water on her as we are Roman Catholics, but they refused. We asked to take a picture with her and they still refused even though they knew it was the last time we would see her.

“Our mother wanted to see her before she died and now she has also died not knowing that mom has died,” she said.

Mthalane said they had so many questions that had been unanswered such as the freedom Chinese people had in SA, saying in China black South Africans were ill-treated.

“At customs they let everyone pass except me and my sister and threw our clothes on the floor, including our underwear, and then made us pick it up. It was humiliating, to say the least. I am sure that if my sister was not black-skinned she would still be alive. We are hurt and just want answers why she was killed,” she said.

Linden’s nephew, Ntando Mthalane, said they were very disappointed with the South African government as they felt they could have done more to spare his aunt’s life.

He said he felt that his aunt was killed because of her skin colour as they had seen on TV that there was another man in China who was caught with 7kg of cocaine, but he got a life sentence.

“We would have accepted a life sentence, but death for just 3kg is hard to accept, more because in this country there are a lot of drug dealers. We live with them, but they are still alive,” he said.

For the family right now, according to Ntando, it felt like democracy was not meant for the everyday man.

“My opinion of the government is that they could have done more, but they didn’t. But I am sure that if it was voting time they would have done more and she would still be alive. If we trade with China, I am sure that they could have done something, but they let her die,” he said.

Ntando said he would miss his aunt for the many wonderful qualities, but more for her love of people. “She was a people’s person and she will be missed,” he said.

Linden’s brother, Ramon Hunter, said: “South Africa is becoming another colony of China, starting with the Dalai Lama and now this. It looks like as a country we are being told what to do by the Chinese and it is not right,” he said.

Hunter said Linden was a friend and mother figure. “She used to help people and she loved people. The Chinese gave her no choice. They did not even tell her they were going to kill her until that day and it really hurts,” he said. - Daily News


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