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Hotel owner checked ‘brothel’ books

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Copy of IOL  Rugnath and his wife, Ravina [1]

The Mercury

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

Durban - The owner of a Durban hotel where rooms were allegedly rented to prostitutes regularly checked the books, the Durban Regional Court heard on Friday.

David Makhehlane Nyide, who worked as a receptionist at the Inn Town Lodge between 2004 and 2009, said he was required to record all monies received in a receipt book as well as in a second book.

Both books were checked by the owner, Dr Genchen Rugnath, to ensure the two tallied with the cash received.

“He checked both books,” said Nyide.

He said a receipt was issued to each occupant.

Rugnath, his wife Ravina, and Sandile Patrick Zweni, Nonduzo Dlamini and Bhabha Dubazini have all pleaded not guilty to 156

charges. These include assault, rape, sexual exploitation of a child, and racketeering.

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

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 notorious 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.

Nyide said Budhram would resolve any issues which arose from the hiring of the rooms.

He said sometimes Rugnath would come to the hotel in the company of Budhram and at other times he would arrive alone.

Nyide said on one occasion he had his salary docked for missing monies. He said he resigned when he heard from Budhram that the doctor was accusing him of stealing money.

“Veena was the one who told me that the doctor said I was stealing his money,” said Nyide.

The trial was postponed to May 26.

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