Court told of sex workers at DBN hotel

2013-09-05 00:00

THE state will today call a second witness to the box in the trial of Durban’s Dr Genchen Rugnath, his wife Ravina and their three co-accused, the Durban Magistrate’s Court heard yesterday.

The witness is one of the girl sex workers, some of whom were allegedly held against their will, at Rugnath’s Inn Town Holiday Lodge in Point Road.

The couple and Sandile Patrick Zweni, Nonduzo Dlamini and Bhabha Dubazane stand accused of human trafficking and of running a brothel where children as young as 12 were kept. They are facing 156 charges, including sexual exploitation, rape, assault and racketeering. They were arrested in January last year, with the couple freed on R30 000 bail each. Of the three men, one applied for bail, but was refused. The other two abandoned their bail application.

State witness Yvonne Dudu Shinga, who worked for the Rugnaths at their Inn Town Holiday Lodge, told the court in her final testimony yesterday how arrangements were made for the girl prostitutes who allegedly plied their trade at the lodge.

“The girls had to check out at 9 am so that the rooms could be tidied up. We had one receipt book that was checked by my manager, Ravina. Hourly bookings were for two hours and the rooms were cleaned if the cleaner was available,” said Shinga.

State prosecutor Yuri Gangai probed Shinga further on how she had concluded that some of the girls were under age.

“The girls were my daughter’s age of 23 and some were even younger than that. Even though some would say they were 19 and older, they looked very young,” she said.

Asked to explain how the girls were held against their will, Shinga said the girls said so themselves.

She further testified that Dr Rugnath would phone and ask if the rooms were full and if the girls were there. At one stage, she had told the doctor that the rooms were not full.

“He phoned and asked where the girls were, and I told him they were out. He asked me to find out from them why they were not booking in at the lodge and where they were booked. The next morning, he phoned again for feedback. I then told him that the girls said they could not afford his place and that they had booked at the shelters where they pay R20. He said how come they booked at the shelters because those are open spaces, and I said I don’t know.”

She also testified that alcohol was also sold to the girls.

The case will continue until the end of this month.

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