Court hears of fallout over prostitutes' R20 fee

2014-12-03 16:26

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Durban - A Durban doctor and a man accused of running a string of prostitutes from the doctor's hotel had a fallout over a R20 fee the girls were charged for bringing clients to the hotel, the Durban Regional Court heard on Wednesday.

Veena Budhram, former manager of the Inn Town Lodge and the Down Town Lodge in Durban, told the court Sandile Patrick Zweni had complained that the fee was too expensive and at one stage the girls were being brought into the hotel through a back gate that had been broken down.

Dr Genchen Rugnath is charged along with his wife Ravina, Zweni, Nonduzo Dlamini and Bhabha Dubazini.

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

Zweni allegedly ran a prostitution ring from the Inn Town Lodge. Rugnath has claimed he knew nothing about prostitution at the lodge, in the Point Road area which is known as a red-light district, and that he left the running of the hotel to Budhram.

His wife claimed she was a housewife with no involvement in running the hotel.

Budhram told the court the women had to pay "an additional amount of R20 apart from the room amount being paid".

This would allow the women to use the rooms for two hours, but then Zweni stopped paying the money.

She then received a complaint that the girls were bringing their clients in without paying and when the security guard was sent in to remove the girls' clients, the girls started bringing their clients in through the back gate.

After reporting the broken gate to Rugnath, Budhram said she had a meeting with Zweni.

"I asked accused number one why the back gate was damaged or broken. He told me he is allowing his clients to go through [to the rooms].

"When I asked him why he broke the chain, he said he was losing business," said Budhram.

The stand-off over an unpaid amount of about R12 500 led to Zweni operating from other venues.

"When he [Zweni] was chased out accused number four [Rugnath] went through the black book at reception. He told me that we are not getting any income at this place now. He told me we need to do something. He told me I must try and see if I can get accused number one [Zweni] back."

She said that she ultimately did contact Zweni and negotiated his return to the Inn Town Lodge.

Read more on:    durban  |  crime

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