KZN five back in court

By Drum Digital
23 January 2013

The trial involving five people accused of human trafficking and keeping a brothel will resume in the Durban Regional Court on Wednesday.

A doctor, his wife, and three men face a total of 156 charges including assault, rape, sexual exploitation of a child, and racketeering.

Sandile Patrick Zweni, 36, Nonduzo Dlamini, 24, Bhabha Dubazini, 29, Dr Genchen Ragnath, 58, and his 47-year old wife Ravina, could face life imprisonment if convicted.

They allegedly ran a brothel in Durban where children as young as 12 were kept.

Zweni, Dlamini, and Dubazana were arrested along with a fourth person in February last year.

They pleaded not guilty in the Durban Regional Court to dealing in cocaine, human trafficking, and keeping a brothel.

Rugnath owned two lodges in central Durban: Down Town, in Smith Street, and Inn Town, in the Point area.

On Tuesday, Rugnath distanced himself from the illegal activities which were being conducted at his businesses.

He told the court that he trusted and left both his businesses with a woman named Veena Budram whom he advised to conduct both businesses in the manner which she thought best.

His plea was read to the court by his lawyer Anand Nepaul. Rugnath said Budram was in charge of the lodges, but that he occasionally visited to check on the business.

However, the State's first witness claimed that Rugnath had known that prostitutes were paying fees to bring their clients to Inn Town Lodge, where she worked as a receptionist.

At the time of their arrest, police said about 24 women were rescued from a building. Eight of them were minors.

The charge sheet, which was read to the court, refers to 22 girls.

Some of the girls were allegedly as young as 12 and under the influence of drugs.

-Sapa

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