Sex workers in court

Durban - Eight sex workers appeared in a Durban court on Friday in connection with the death of Moroccan-born Italian Souhir Mostafa, 33.

Mostafa's body was found under a bed in the Killarney Hotel in the city last Friday. He was a member of the Italian non-government delegation attending the racism conference.

The eight women, who allegedly lived in the room where the body was found, were this week arrested at a Pretoria hotel by members of the police murder and robbery squad.

Maureen Konko, 47, Audrey Bokaba, 41, Claunnah Chaka, 41, Dulcie Malatjie, 38, Lydia Mochekele, 27, Gertrude Motsepe, 27, Lydia Matumba, 28, and Maggie Mathebula on Friday appeared in the magistrate's court in Durban in connection with the incident.

They have declined legal aid and will handle their own defence.

Konko this week testified before Magistrate Anand Maharaj that she met Mostafa in the bar of the hotel where he was staying. After a few drinks, he suggested they go to her room.

They drank more beer in the room, before she put sleeping tablets, which she had obtained for co-accused Bokaba, into one of his drinks. He lost consciousness shortly afterwards.

Konka said she and some of the other women tried in vain to revive him, and pushed him under the bed when security officials knocked on the door.

The security officials searched the room to find out how many people lived there, she said. They did not notice Mostafa's body under the bed.

She and Bokaba then took Mostafa's hotel room keys, went to his room and stole a radio, camera, cellphone and R300 cash.

She said they later sold the camera to a taxi driver for bus money to Pretoria.

The case has been postponed until later this month.

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