KZN brothel busted

2015-09-18 10:47
The alleged brothel on Prince Alfred Street that was raided by police. (Amil Umraw, The Witness)

The alleged brothel on Prince Alfred Street that was raided by police. (Amil Umraw, The Witness)

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Pietermaritzburg - A massive brothel in Prince Alfred Street was shut down on Thursday when the police raided the property, confiscating computers and arresting the “manager”.

The midday raid was part of a joint operation between the SAPS, Department of Home Affairs and the Msunduzi Municipality to tackle prostitution and illegal bed and breakfasts (BnBs) in the city.

In one of the rooms, the inhabitants delayed opening the door. Once police gained entry, they found a man and his female partner, believed to be a prostitute, rushing to put on the rest of their clothes.

The project, nicknamed Project Abasebenzi Bocansi, which translates to “sex workers” in English, was the brainchild of Pietermaritzburg cluster commander Major-General Lucas Ngobeni and has seen more than 15 brothels, illegal BnBs and escort agencies throughout the city being shut down since June.

In the latest sting, police gathered information on the Rose Garden Flats, a property at 277 Prince Alfred Street, which has allegedly been facilitating prostitution under the premises of operating as a BnB.

Pietermaritzburg police spokesperson Mthokozisi Ngobese said they want to send a “clear message” to brothel owners that the unit “means business”.

“We are in the process of cleaning up the city and eradicating the scourge of prostitution,” Ngobese said.

In the midst of the cold and rain on Thursday, more than 40 officials from the Asset Forfeiture Unit, Tactical Response Team, Cyber Crime Unit and Pietermaritzburg detectives swooped in on unsuspecting residents at the flats.

Storming through the gates, police went knocking on each and every door before ransacking through the rooms for evidence.

According to a police source, the manager of the facility has been arrested and the owner, believed to be a man from Port Shepstone, will be arrested and charged in due course.

“At the property a sex worker is stationed at each of the 12 rooms and clients come to the venue and choose which room and sex worker they want,” the source said.

“We did not arrest any of the sex workers but instead, we will get their statements and use it as evidence against the manager and owner.”

Torn pieces of condom wrappings could be seen scattered around the yard of the building.

Police then entered the reception area and confiscated all their documentation including receipts and computers.

The brothel has now been shut down.

Democratic Alliance Ward 33 councillor Naleni Atwaru said she welcomes the closure of the brothel.

“Prostitution is a big issue down town and we have repeatedly requested police to deal with it. Police promised to investigate and this closure is as a result,” Atwaru said.

“I am sure the residents will welcome these arrests as they are constantly harassed by the prostitutes.”

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  prostitution

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