Child prostitute gave birth at 15

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iol news pic Rugnath Point brothel case INDEPENDENT NEWSPAPERS Ravina Rugnath and Genchen Rugnath leaving court. File picture by: Sibonelo Ngcobo

Durban - An 18-year-old woman told the Durban Regional Court on Friday that she gave birth to a baby four months after her 15th birthday and returned to prostitution three months after its birth.

The woman, who may not be named, told the court under cross-examination that she went home for the birth and that three months later “the family from the father's side came and took the baby away from me”.

She contracted tuberculosis and had to be treated for the disease.

She was being cross-examined in the trial of a Durban doctor accused with his wife and three others of running a prostitution ring.

Dr Genchen Rugnath is on trial with his wife Ravina, and 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.

It was not revealed who the father of the baby was or if it was a boy or a girl.

She told the court her addiction to drugs supplied by Zweni kept her working, first at Victoria Lodge and then Inn Town Lodge Ä the hotel Rugnath owned.

She admitted she was not being guarded by anyone and there was nothing physically to stop her running away.

“I was addicted to drugs. All I could think about was the drugs.”

Ashika Ramdularay, for Dlamini and Dubazini, said her clients did not work for Zweni but held various other jobs and went to the Inn Town Lodge for alcohol and to have sex with the prostitutes there.

The girl said she could not comment on any other work they did but knew them to be “runners” for Zweni.

Questioned about why she only took drugs from Zweni, she said:

“Either they (Dlamini and Dubazini) would assault you or they would sort you out for what you have done.”

She said she was never assaulted as she always obtained her crack cocaine from Zweni.

She said she had never seen the Rugnaths at the Inn Town Lodge. Rugnath's hotel manageress Veena Budhram was initially charged in the matter but has since turned State witness.

The girl told the court she initially thought Budhram was the owner because she would arrive at the hotel shouting at staff.

The first time she saw the Rugnaths was when she came to court to testify.

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

The woman is the second prostitute to testify. The trial continues.

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