'Bad mom' trafficking accused denied bail

2016-10-14 13:58
Holding cells. (Duncan Alfreds, News24)

Holding cells. (Duncan Alfreds, News24)

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Bushbuckridge - A pregnant Mozambican woman accused of trafficking was denied bail on Thursday, despite her pleading exceptional circumstances.

Gertrude Mdaka, 23, was denied bail after pleading not guilty to the offence of trafficking a fellow Mozambican woman to South Africa. She appeared before the Mhala Magistrate's Court in Thulamahashe outside Bushbuckridge on Thursday.

Mdaka stands accused of bringing in a fellow Mozambican woman on false job hopes and attempting to traffic her for sex. The victim was found wandering the streets by residents and taken to the police.

"Apparently Mdaka promised [the victim Gloria] Cossa that by coming along with her she would find a job, and when they got to the husband's house in Agincourt [Thulamahashe]. Mdaka told Cossa that she came with her to the country so she could become the second wife to her husband," Detective Katlego Mashego told the court.

"That's when the victim ran away and reported the case of human trafficking to the police."

Mashego said that, while presenting the case to the court, the victim was helped by community members of Agincourt after she was seen wandering around with no place to go.

Bad mother

After allowing both sides to present their cases, Magistrate Fortune Mhlaba denied the accused bail on the basis that she was a flight risk and her reason for being in the country was unknown. She was also an undocumented person bringing illegal migrants into the country, the magistrate said.

Mhlaba ruled on Thursday that Mdaka's pregnancy was not reason enough to grant bail because she would be taken care of in prison. She also suggested that the accused was not a caring mother anyway, having failed to inquire after her children's wellbeing when visited by her husband in her cell.

The dispute over bail began on Monday. State prosecutor Sebotse Rapelwana said the fact that she was pregnant and experiencing nausea, was normal, and not reason enough to grant bail.

The defence's Decorn Sibuyi had argued that the accused was in the early stages of pregnancy, and had two kids who needed their mother. Sibuyi said the accused was not eating well, complained about pains, and was worried she could lose her baby.

An immigration officer informed the court that Cossa, as a state witness, had been detained in a safety unit in Mkhuhlu, and that she would be deported back to her home country after the conclusion of the case.

The case was moved to the regional court for reappearance on the October 31.

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