13-year-old charged R50 for sex

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IOL sep 6  Rugnath and his wife, Ravina

The Mercury

Doctor Genchen Rugnath and his wife, Ravina. Photo:Sandile Makhoba

Durban - A schoolgirl told the Durban Regional Court on Monday that she charged her clients R50 for sex after being given drugs.

The girl, who cannot be named, told the court she was called by a white man who asked her how much it costs.

"I told him it was R100, as I was told to. The R100 was for the blow job and the f**k."

The girl was giving evidence in the trial of Dr Genchen Rugnath, his wife Ravina, Sandile Patrick Zweni, Nonduzo Dlamini, and Bhabha Dubazini.

They have all pleaded not guilty to 156 charges, including assault, rape, sexual exploitation of a child, and racketeering.

Girls as young as 12 were alleged to have worked at a Durban hotel.

The girl, who is now 19 years old, told the court she was invited to stay at the Victoria Lodge hotel while she was waiting outside a Durban library when she was 13 years old.

She smoked a "cigarette" that night, but was told by one of the girls at the hotel that she had to "keep it in and not let it out".

The next day she was given R200 to buy new clothes and her first customer was the white man who questioned her.

The next year she stayed at the Victoria Lodge and another place called the Cotton Lodge, where she sold sex to pay for a drug that she called "wake-up".

"Every day that I stayed there, I would get a wake-up and then go to the streets. I was selling my vagina."

She described "wake-up" as "a small thing that is white and you smoke it".

She said sexual intercourse on its own would cost her clients R50, and she would charge them R100 for both sexual and oral intercourse.

She initially told the court she knew all of the accused sitting in the dock, but later during her testimony it emerged she did not know the Rugnaths.

The money she earned she would give to Dubazini and once to Zweni.

This would be then used for her drugs and she would get R25 a day for food.

Once she went back home, but returned to Victoria Lodge because she was suffering from stomach cramps. These went away when she started taking the drug.

After staying at Victoria Lodge and the Cotton Lodge, she said she then stayed at Inn Town Lodge, the hotel owned by Rugnath.

Rugnath's manageress Veena Budhram was also initially charged but has since turned State witness.

Rugnath claims he knew nothing about prostitution taking place at the hotel, located in Durban's Point Road area - known for its red-light activities - and left the running of his hotel to Budhram.

Zweni is alleged to have operated the prostitution ring from the hotel.

The girl said that at Inn Town Lodge she had a room that she shared with up to five other prostitutes. She told the court there were at least six other rooms at Inn town Lodge which were paid for by Zweni for girls to sleep in.

"All of the rooms were paid for by Sandile (Zweni). None of us paid for the rooms," she said.

As the girl described her life of prostitution, her mother sat in the public gallery with her head lowered looking at the floor with her hands around her neck.

The girl said that when she moved to Inn Town Lodge, Zweni gave instructions to the girls that they were not to ply their trade immediately outside the entrance to Inn Town Lodge.

She said sometimes she would go with clients and other times she would take them to Inn Town Lodge where they were expected to pay R3000 to the receptionist.

On average, she would have at least five clients a day, and while targets were not set she said she had been questioned why she did not have more clients.

"They would ask me why I brought only five people when the other girls were bringing more. They didn't accept that I tried by all means to get more business."

The trial continues.

 

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