Cape Town - A mother in court for allegedly selling her pre-teen daughter for sex will be sent for specialist medical treatment because her lawyer believes she has a hearing problem and cannot understand court proceedings.
The Atlantis mother and two co-accused face various charges including trafficking persons for sexual purposes, being involved in the sexual exploitation of a child, furthering the sexual exploitation of a child, benefiting from the sexual exploitation of a child, and living from the earnings of the sexual exploitation of a child.
The State alleges that on several occasions between 2011 and 2012 the women allowed men to have sex with the girl, who was 11 and 12 at the time, in exchange for money.
They have not yet pleaded to the charges.
At their last appearance lawyer Arthur Olsen, for the mother, lodged an objection to the charges. He argued the State should reformulate some of the charges.
Four women had initially appeared in the Cape Town Regional Court, but one later died of natural causes.
On Wednesday, Olsen brought an application to have the mother examined by an audiologist to determine whether she could hear and understand the proceedings. He said it was not easy to consult her.
He told the court she had approached Correctional Services staff to write a letter stating that she did not understand the proceedings. Olsen did not believe she had a mental problem, but was aware of her hearing problem.
“And she was not blessed with an abundance of intellectual capacity.”
He said whenever he asked her whether she understood, she would always say “yes”, giving him the impression that she understood.
State prosecutor Fiona Cloete said the mother had been sent to a district surgeon twice before, when she had appeared in the magistrate’s court, and had been found fit to stand trial.
Cloete added that the interpreters were helpful by sitting next to the mother in the dock during proceedings.
The mother is due back in court on Thursday and again on August 8 when a report from the doctor is expected to be handed to the court. The trio will appear together on August 18 when the matter will continue.