Durban - In the end it wasn’t worth it. Growing dagga in a secret laboratory in a house in Durban North might have seemed like easy money, but it now means two schoolchildren will grow up without their mother, who was one of those sent to jail for eight years on Friday.
The five Durban North dagga dealers, who brought several court applications to delay sentencing, were led from court to the cells, and then taken to Westville prison, after they were handed lengthy jail terms in the Durban Magistrate’s Court.
Tracy-Anne Pretorius, her boyfriend Tyronne Hofland, and their co-accused Travis Bailey, Bonzile Chutshela and Senzele Dlezi, were convicted in November 2011 of drug dealing after a raid at Pretorius’s Durban North home, where 44kg of dagga worth an estimated R2.2 million was being cultivated in a laboratory in a concealed basement.
In a lengthy judgment, magistrate Najama Kathrada said the five had shown little or no remorse, and Bailey, Hofland and Pretorius had been the “main offenders”, while Chutshela and Dlezi had been employed as workers.
She sentenced Bailey, Hofland and Pretorius to eight years in prison, and Chutshela and Dlezi to five years each.
Quoting case law in which lengthy sentences were given to drug dealers, Kathrada said that the crime had to be viewed in a “serious light”.