Her arrest came a month after her last-born child had turned one year old.

The South African policewoman bust in Brazil for alleged drug smuggling lives in a modest backyard room in Kensington, Johannesburg.
Angela Maluleke, 33, from Giyani in Limpopo, was arrested at São Paulo International Airport, allegedly in possession of six bricks of cocaine in her luggage.

Her arrest came a month after her last-born child had turned one year old.

Her landlord George João described Maluleke, who also has a seven-year-old daughter, as a “friendly person whose boyfriend only visited her once”.

João said he was excited when she moved in to rent his backyard room in March because he believed that having a police officer at his house would deter criminals.

“I was charging her R1500 a month to rent a room, and this amount included electricity and water,” he said.

João said Maluleke had not acted suspiciously and he had never seen her in the company of “dubious” people.

“The only people who visited her are her mother, sister and boyfriend, who is the father of the child,” he said.

“On Friday her mother, who had come here to look after the kids while Angela had gone to Brazil, was devastated by the news of her arrest,” he said.

Police officers at Cleveland police station where Maluleke worked were guarded yesterday, refusing to give too many details about her. The officers, who appeared shocked, referred questions to spokesman Captain Johan Jordaan.

Jordaan said Maluleke was on leave. He would only confirm her rank as constable.

Maluleke’s sister, who refused to give her name, declined to comment.

“You are telling me that you are calling in connection with my sister’s arrest. Why don’t you call her?” she said.

Police Minister Fikile Mbalula’s spokesman Vuyo Mhaga said the ministry was disappointed by the arrest because it tainted the image of the police.

He said, however, they were pleased that the arrest was made by Interpol SA in conjunction with Brazilian police.

International relations spokesman Nelson Kgwete said it was unclear when Maluleke would make a court appearance.

A source close to the department said yesterday that authorities were puzzled as to what Maluleke was doing in Brazil.