Man knew nephew kept girls, court hears

2013-09-11 21:32

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Durban - The uncle of a man accused of trafficking girls knew that his nephew kept them at a Durban hotel, the Durban Regional Court was told on Wednesday.

"I knew that Sandile had young girls kept at 20 Fisher Street," Bhekuyise Petros Mbhele told the court.

He was testifying in the trial of his nephew Sandile Patrick Zweni and four others on an assortment of charges including human trafficking, racketeering and keeping a brothel.

He and his co-accused Dr Genchen Rugnath, his wife Ravina, Nonduzo Dlamini, 24, and Bhabha Dubazini have pleaded not guilty to the 156 charges.

Rugnath owns the Inn Town Lodge, where some of the alleged offences took place.

The testimony of Mbhele, who operated a taxi for Zweni, follows that of a young 18-year-old girl.

She testified on Tuesday that she was held against her will by Zweni until she was addicted to crack cocaine, and then prostituted herself to buy drugs from him.

Mbhele made his admission under cross-examination, after Rugnath's lawyer questioned him about his statement to the police.

Mbhele said he knew about the girls at Fisher Street because that was where he would collect his taxi from Zweni.

He also collected the taxi and petrol money from Zweni at a number of other locations.

From 2007, the location was the Inn Town Lodge, owned by Rugnath.

He said did not see Rugnath at the lodge, but recalled seeing his wife arrive there with plumbers on an occasion in 2011.

During the Rugnaths' bail application, Ravina Rugnath said in a statement that she was a housewife and had nothing to do with the hotel.

Read more on:    durban  |  child abuse

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