Operation aimed at drugs, court hears

2014-10-28 15:57

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Durban - A policeman testifying in a child sex trial told the Durban Regional Court on Tuesday their undercover operation was aimed at targeting drug distributors and not human trafficking.

Zamo Maphumulo, said he was told that the main target of the undercover operation was Sandile Patrick Zweni, who has been charged along with Nonduzo Dlamini, Bhaba Dubazini, and Dr Genchen Rugnath and his wife Ravina.

They have pleaded not guilty to 156 charges, including assault, rape, sexual exploitation of a child, and racketeering.

Zweni is alleged to have operated a prostitution ring with girls as young as 12 from Rugnath's hotel, the Inn Town Lodge.

Maphumulo said that during the operation he never saw Zweni, only Dlamini.

"We were told the target was Sandile and that if Sandile was not there we should buy from someone selling drugs on his behalf," Maphumulo said through an interpreter.

Under cross-examination he said he had been warned that a prostitution ring operated at the Inn Town Lodge.

However, those involved in the operation had not been told to look for anyone involved in human trafficking.

His evidence follows that of KwaZulu-Natal deputy director of public prosecutions Gert Nel, who testified on Monday that he had authorised only an undercover operation to determine who was dealing in crack cocaine.

"I did not authorise a human trafficking undercover operation," he said.

Nel said on Monday he was the only person in KwaZulu-Natal responsible for authorising undercover operations in terms of section 252(A) of the Criminal Procedures Act.

This section regulated the conduct of the police when applying the principle of entrapment. It provided the criteria that should be used by the courts when deciding whether to allow the evidence of the "trap" to be used in the criminal trial.

Nel said he would receive an application together with an affidavit from police before agreeing to authorise such an operation.

It was only after the five had been arrested that he became aware that the case had moved from a drug-related case to a human trafficking case.

Read more on:    police  |  durban  |  crime

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