Details of Durban child sex ring outlined in court

2016-03-17 12:55
(File, iStock)

(File, iStock)

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Durban – Grizzly details of a well-organised child prostitution outfit were highlighted at the Durban Regional Court on Thursday where the judgment on a prominent doctor, his wife and their co-accused is being handed down.

Umhlanga-based Dr Genchen Rugnath and his wife Ravina, together with Sandile Patrick Zweni, Nonduzo Dlamini and Bhabha Dubazini, have all pleaded not guilty to 156 charges, including assault, rape, sexual exploitation of a child, and racketeering.

Zweni allegedly operated a prostitution ring with girls as young as 12 from Rugnath's hotel, the Inn Town Lodge. During her testimony, Veena Budhram, a former manager at the hotel, said Rugnath, his wife and their co-accused communicated face-to-face when they were at the lodge.

Magistrate Simphiwe Hlophe revealed the nature of the operations while delivering the judgment, which is expected to conclude on Thursday or Friday. He has, thus far found Zweni, Dlamini and Dubazini guilty on nine of the 156 charges.

In his judgment, Hlophe highlighted how Zweni would recruit underage girls by giving them free accommodation and food, and then made them pay the money back by prostituting themselves.

He added that drug addiction was a pivotal tool used in the operation of the organisation.

He detailed how one girl was transported to a hotel and forced to smoke drugs "all night and all day" until she developed a dependency.

"This girl was then transported with the knowledge of all the accused and made to start working as a prostitute."

Hlophe added that, even when her granny took her back home, she returned a mere two days later because she could not cope without drugs.

Hlophe said Zweni, Dlamini and Dubazini all acted with common cause. He however said Budhram would intentionally keep knowledge of the prostitution ring away from Rugnath and his wife.

The matter continues.  

Read more on:    durban  |  child abuse  |  crime

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