KZN brothel case postponed

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iol news pic Rugnath brothel trial INDEPENDENT NEWSPAPERS Doctor Genchen Rugnath and his wife, Ravina. File photo: Sandile Makhoba

Durban - The trial of a Durban doctor accused along with four others of running a brothel with young girls was postponed for the second time this week in the Durban Regional Court on Wednesday after the State's witness was booked off sick.

Prosecutor Yuri Gangai said the witness, who is the third prostitute to give evidence in the case, had fallen ill and the State had been unable to bring in another witness.

Dr Genchen Rugnath is charged along with his wife Ravina, Sandile Patrick Zweni, Nonduzo Dlamini, and Bhabha Dubazini.

Zweni, Dlamini, and Dubazini were denied bail and are being held in Durban's Westville prison.

They have 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 the hotel.

Rugnath's manager 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.

Magistrate Simphiwe Hlophe ordered the trial to be postponed to Thursday.

He ordered that the proceedings for the rest of the trial start at 8.30am to make up for lost time. The trial is set down for the whole of August.

On Monday the trial was postponed when Dlamini was not brought to court from Westville prison on time.


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