Drive to name, shame ‘brothel’ visitors

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An empty condom packet outside an alleged brothel in Bluff. Photo: Sibusiso Ndlovu

Duban - Bluff residents, outraged by what they say is a brothel in the suburb, have taken to Facebook to “name and shame” those visiting the house, posting photographs of cars parked outside.

The move, which has received hundreds of responses, has been praised by some who say the identities of “the customers” must be publicised, while others say this could hurt their wives and children.

Now, a criminal advocate has warned those publishing the photographs that they are “skating on thin ice” legally.

The Facebook outcry started on Friday when resident Clint Visagie posted on a community page that he would publish pictures daily of cars parked outside the Bluff Road house, regardless of why they were there.

He complained that it was open every day from 11pm to 5am and people constantly hooted at the gate. Other residents complained that the neighbourhood’s dogs were always barking because of the hooting and that used condoms were often found on the verges.

When The Mercury visited the house on Monday, broken bottles, bottle tops and condom boxes were strewn outside its garages and gate.

Attempts to speak to the owner or residents of the house were unsuccessful.

But a neighbour told The Mercury that “foreign” women lived there and could not speak English.

Another resident said cars parked outside the house “at all hours of the night”.

“The three women make a huge noise… cars mistake our house for the brothel and have hooted outside our gates,” she said, adding that the women were scantily clad and only luxury cars driven by men arrived at the house and did not stay for long.

On Saturday Visagie posted two photographs of cars parked outside, their registrations partially visible.

Also on Sunday, Chantal Bransgrove posted a photograph of a Ford Ranger. Its registration was clearly visible. Other residents said they would do the same.

Some residents congratulated her on her post but others said naming and shaming was not the right solution.

Angel-Ina Robbertse said the page should be taken down and that those who posted the photographs could be sued.

But Bransgrove hit back, saying: “This is an open platform to set the record straight if they were just parked there.”

Criminal advocate Paul Jorgensen warned that the owners of the vehicles could take legal action, even if comments accompanying the photographs did not directly say they were visiting an alleged brothel.

“The implication that they are visiting the ‘brothel’ is there. What if the house is not a brothel? What if someone just parked there but is visiting another house? Aside from the people who live in the alleged brothel, the people who park outside can also sue as the innuendo is there.”

Jorgensen explained

: “How would one prove that the driver of that car went in there and exchanged money for sexual favours, unless someone on the inside came clean?”

Brighton Beach police did not respond to questions.

The posts were deleted on Monday after the page’s administrator said the issue had received enough attention.

The Mercury

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