Charges withdrawn against 11 strippers

2012-04-23 18:28
Johannesburg - Charges of being illegally in the country were withdrawn against 11 of 12 strippers of various nationalities by the Cape Town Magistrate's Court on Monday.

The women, who were employed at the Cape Town nightspot Mavericks Revue Bar, seemed bewildered as they stepped into the dock one at a time, before Magistrate Alta Frederick.

A 12th woman, Olga Gretu, 33, was warned to return to the court on Tuesday, when a decision would be taken by prosecuting authorities on whether the State would proceed with the charges against her.

Counsel Peter Mihalik and attorney George de Beer, for the defence, told the court that an immigration official was to have furnished them with documentation concerning Gretu on Monday, but that he had not arrived for the hearing.

The nature of the documentation was not disclosed to the court, but it would be handed to the senior prosecuting authorities in the course of the day, "for verification", Mihalik said.

Immigration Act

The women were released on bail after their arrest in November, and their appearance in court on Monday was their sixth.

At a previous appearance, when they all stepped into the dock together, Magistrate Chumani Giyos remarked in court he had never seen so many attractive women together at one time.

On that day, as the women stepped out of the dock, he told them he "hoped to see them again".

They faced charges of failure to comply with the Immigration Act, and of entering and remaining in South Africa after their temporary residence permits had expired.

On the first count, it was alleged they illegally worked as strippers at Mavericks while awaiting the outcome of their applications for a change of status.

A document they were given by the immigration authorities specifically prohibited their employment while awaiting the outcome of their applications for temporary residence permits.

On this charge, according to the charge sheet, the penalty was an unspecified fine, or imprisonment for a period not exceeding 18 months.

On the second charge, a penalty of an unspecified fine, or a jail term not exceeding three months could be imposed.
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