Klerksdorp brothel forfeited to the State – NPA

2018-03-10 08:13
The building in Klerksdorp that was being used as a brothel. (Pictures via SAPS)

The building in Klerksdorp that was being used as a brothel. (Pictures via SAPS)

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Klerksdorp – A brothel in Klerksdorp in North West has been forfeited to the State, the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) said on Friday.

The North Gauteng High Court granted the Asset Forfeiture Unit (AFU) in the North West the forfeiture order on Wednesday, said NPA regional spokesperson Phindi Mjonondwane.

The AFU had applied for the order declaring the building on Viljoen Street forfeited to the State on the basis that it was instrumental in various unlawful activities, including housing a brothel, drug dealing and prostitution.

PICS: Women, teens rescued from Klerksdorp brothel

"The AFU submitted that various provisions of the Sexual Offences Act, Drugs and Drug Trafficking Act and the Prevention and Combating of Trafficking in Persons Act were violated in the process. The latest development follows a preservation of property order which was granted on 07 September 2017," Mjonondwane said in a statement.

On December 16, 2016, News24 reported that the Hawks rescued 26 women from the same brothel.

They were all South African and came from Gauteng, the Northern Cape, KwaZulu-Natal, Free State and the Eastern Cape.

House hijacked

The women's ages ranged from 14 to 37. At the time, the Hawks said their investigations into the matter would continue.

Photos of the building that were posted on the South African Police Service Facebook page at the time revealed squalid conditions, with dirty linen on beds and condom wrappers scattered about on dirty floors. Thin walls or curtains divided beds.

Mjonondwane said the house was hijacked by drug dealers and human traffickers.

"Over the years it became a nuisance to the community and local authorities. The Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation (the Hawks) in the North West then referred the case to the AFU and assisted throughout," she said. 

Evidence revealed that a Nigerian national, Charles Chukwukere Okorie, was arrested on December 16, 2016, at the property in connection with various illegal activities that took place there, according to Mjonondwane.

The house was used by Okorie and his co-perpetrators largely as a brothel, said Mjonondwane.

"Willing participants and victims of the offences were trafficked into the house. Most of them were kept against their will and sexually exploited. The Hawks rescued many of the victims, including minor children," she said. 

Demolition of structures

Mjonondwane said on March 2, 2017, following another police raid at both the forfeited property and a house at number 30 Botha Street, in Klerksdorp, Michael Nzubechukwu – another Nigerian who is also an illegal immigrant – was arrested.

It was not immediately clear whether Okorie and Nzubechukwu were deported to Nigeria or are currently in prison in South Africa.

The AFU was notified on February 7, 2017, that the Matlosana Local Municipality had also launched separate legal proceedings in the Mahikeng High Court with a view to have certain illegal structures erected on the property demolished, according to the NPA.

"It transpired that the municipality could not pursue that application as the property was already subject to the preservation order at the time. It then requested the AFU's assistance.

"The AFU cooperated with the municipality and incorporated in the draft order a provision that permits the demolition of the illegal structures on the property to proceed on the grounds that they pose a serious risk to society," she said.

The AFU, represented by Thabiso Manyako, used the new information to further strengthen its case and submitted to the court that the mere existence of the illegal structures provided additional evidence of the lawlessness there, she said.

"The court accepted the submissions and granted the revised forfeiture order."

Read more on:    afu  |  npa  |  hawks  |  crime  |  courts

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