Schoolgirl fingers cops in brothel case

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Durban - A schoolgirl prostitute told the Durban Regional Court on Tuesday that two police officers were among her clients at the time she sold herself to pay for drugs.

One paid her R50 for oral sex in a police van and an additional R50 to keep quiet about it. She had sex with the other at a Durban railway station.

She was giving evidence in the trial of Dr Genchen Rugnath, 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.

Girls as young as 12 allegedly worked as prostitutes at a Durban hotel.

The girl, now 19, said the police officer took her to Durban's Blue Lagoon area some time in 2010.

Asked by Rugnath's lawyer Arnand Nepaul during cross-examination about why she got R100, she said: "This (extra) R50 was for me not to tell that I have been doing this with the police officer." The officer allegedly refused to let her go because "he wanted Sandile's money. He knew that Sandile was paying".

In previous testimony the girl told the court Zweni bribed police twice to release her and other girls prostituting themselves.

She denied that she had been arrested because the officer kept her in the front of the van while looking for Zweni.

Nepaul asked her about a statement she made to police in which she claimed she solicited sex from a police officer at Durban's Berea Road railway station.

When queried about the officer she said she only remembered his name as Ngumisa.

"He was working at Durban central (police station)," she said.

The girl has alleged she worked for Zweni, whom the State has accused of operating a prostitution ring from Rugnath's hotel, the Inn Town Lodge.

The girl previously told the court she was invited to stay at the Victoria Lodge hotel while waiting outside a Durban library when she was 13.

Rugnath's hotel manageress Veena Budhram was initially charged in the matter but has since turned State witness.

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

The girl conceded under cross-examination from Nepaul that she never solicited any business at the Inn Town Lodge, but on the street. She would bring clients back to the hotel where they paid R30, either to a receptionist or one of Zweni's "runners". She said she knew the receptionist as "Auntie".

The girl told the court that in 2010 she was diagnosed as HIV-positive and had tuberculosis. She said a sister at the KwaMashu polyclinic informed her of her diagnosis.

The trial continues.

 

Sapa


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