‘Brothel’ case: Woman tells of attack

2013-09-06 00:00

A YOUNG woman broke down in the dock yesterday as she told the court of how she was assaulted when she visited an alleged brothel in Mahatma Gandhi (Point) Road last year.

The witness, who cannot be named to protect her identity, was giving evidence in the trial of local doctor Genchen Rugnath, his wife Ravina, Nonduzo Dlamini, Bhabha Dubazane and Sandile Patric Zweni.

She told the court Zweni beat her up for “interfering” with his business.

Zweni, together with his co-accused, is accused of 156 charges, including sexual exploitation, rape, assault, human trafficking and racketeering.

The young woman was the second state witness to testify before Magistrate S.S. Hlophe. She said she arrived at Rugnath’s Inn Town Holiday Lodge in Point Road at the end of 2010, where they lived in filthy rooms that they were forced to clean.

Within 10 minutes in the witness box, the woman became emotional and burst into tears when she explained how she got involved with the prostitution business “unexpectedly”.

She said she was introduced to the lodge by a friend who was a sex worker.

Prosecutor Val Dafel wanted to know her understanding of prostitution, and for her to explain the unfolding of events on her first night as a prostitute. The woman said she understood that prostitutes sell their bodies (sex) for money.

Asked what she did with the money, she said: “One of the friends said to ease my ordeal I had to smoke. The other girl gave her R100 and she went and came back with what she called the rock, a glass pipe, something resembling a steelwool and a lighter.”

Reliving her assault by Zweni, she said she had left the lodge and stayed somewhere else. “[One of the girls] phoned me one day saying she was sick. I went to the lodge and while talking to her, accused number one [Zweni] attacked me, slapping me continuously and pulling me by my hair. Despite the beating I left with the girl and took her to hospital.”

The case continues.

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