Durban doctor and wife in the dock

2012-03-31 00:00

DURBAN — A wealthy doctor from Umhlanga and his wife, whom police have linked to human trafficking, were released on bail last night after an urgent after-hours appeal.

The Durban high court heard that the pair had allegedly visited two of their lodges — where brothels were operating — up to twice a day during peak holiday season

Advocate Jimmy Howse made an urgent after-hours appeal on behalf of the 57-year-old doctor and his 46-six-year old wife for Judge Dhaya Pillay to set the couple free on bail.

Police have linked them to the largest human trafficking case yet in KwaZulu-Natal.

Earlier acting magistrate, L.  Matjele ruled in a Durban court that the pair, who were arrested in a hotel, had to remain in custody until after the Easter weekend.

Howse argued that Matjele had exceeded his authority when he postponed the case by 11 days, instead of seven days.

State prosecutor Val Dafel countered with an urgent application, stating that charges against the couple concerning the operating of a criminal establishment were being considered, amid indications that they knew what was happening at the properties they owned.

The couple own the Inn Town Lodge and Downtown Lodge in the Point area, from where brothels have allegedly been operating for the past 12 years by Sandile Zweni (37), Nonduzo Dlamini (23) and Bhabha Dubazani (29). The three have already appeared in court in connection with the case, that saw police rescue 22 girls from one of the buildings. They were locked into their rooms, with the youngest said to be a mere 12 years old.

Dafel said the three men would ensure the young women became addicted to drugs and would then reward them with narcotics for working as prostitutes. The women were allegedly given only R20 to R25 a day for food, said Dafel.

In other instances when police raided the suspected brothels, the doctor allegedly told the inns’ managers to sort it out with their police contacts, said Dafel.

However, Howse wanted to know why the alleged involvement of the couple was not investigated properly before they were arrested

In granting bail, Pillay told Howse such an investigation “would have happened in an ideal world, but we do not live in an ideal world”.

Strict conditions for their release were agreed to, including R60 000 bail.The pair must remain at their home between 6 pm and 6 am.

They must also report daily to the Hawks and may not be within one kilometre from one of the alleged brothels. The doctor’s practice will be searched today amid allegations that evidence is being destroyed.

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