Setback for child smuggling case

2013-04-16 22:35

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Nelspruit - A Nelspruit Regional Court magistrate, a prosecutor and a defence lawyer have withdrawn from a child smuggling case that has been running for the past 16 months.

A Sapa correspondent reported that magistrate Andre Geldenhuys, prosecutor Elise du Plessis and Legal Aid defence lawyer MC Mabunda pulled out on Tuesday.

The court was expected to hear the sentencing of self-confessed Mozambican child smuggler, Eliza Zefaro Gwambe, 41, on Tuesday.

"The case was supposed to be the finalised today [Tuesday] but due to three statements brought in front of me in the morning, which were made by Gwambe to Mabunda, Nicro representatives and the State social worker, I am withdrawing myself and colleagues from the case," Geldenhuys said.

Nicro is the SA National Institute for Crime Prevention and the Reintegration of Offenders.

Geldenhuys ruled the case should start afresh and new court officials be appointed to run the case.

"After reading the report that was made by Gwambe on 8 March where she confessed... that she is guilty of child smuggling, where she smuggled two kids from Mozambique into South Africa, [I found] several contradictions...," he said.

Geldenhuys told the court Gwambe, who initially confessed to being a child smuggler, was denying everything she said on record.

"In her recent statement she stated that she was forced by Mabunda to sign a document which she didn't understand," he said.

"She contradicted herself in three statements today and we don't have a choice but to withdraw ourselves from the case."

Gwambe, who has been in custody since December 2011, broke into tears when the court interpreter told her the case would start afresh. She asked to address the court, but the magistrate turned down her request.

The case was postponed to Friday for new court officials to be appointed.

Read more on:    mbombela  |  child abuse

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
NEXT ON NEWS24X publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.