Johannesburg - The judge presiding over the case against sex ring leader accused Gerhard Ackerman, Judge Ismail Mohamed, reported sick on Wednesday, forcing the judgment against the accused to be deferred until next Monday.
Ackerman, who pleaded not guilty, faces more than 740 charges, including child pornography, rape, human trafficking, and attempted murder. He presented himself before the South Gauteng High Court on Wednesday ahead of the judgment.
The 56-year-old was also accused of sexually abusing and selling young boys between the ages of 14 and 16 to some of his rich clients, who perpetrated the same acts against teenage boys.
An uncompromising state prosecutor, advocate Valencia Dube, recently lambasted Ackerman for his role in the sex trafficking ring and spoke frankly about the charges Ackerman was facing, saying the accused should face the full might of the law.
She said Ackerman had lured minors to his web, sexually groomed them, and then sold them to his clients, who subsequently performed sexually lewd acts on them.
Ackerman pleaded not guilty to 740 charges, including rape, sexual exploitation of children, human trafficking, sexual grooming of children, sexual assault, and unlawful possession of child pornography.
On Tuesday, Ackerman revealed to the court that he had participated in the training of young boys at his massage parlour in Pretoria, which later moved to Sandton and Sandringham.
"When I trained them, I asked them if they are willing to give the clients a happy ending. All of them used to say yes. I would then ask them if they know how to do it. Basically, there was no training involved, as they would say they knew how to do it," he said.
He said he found working with innocent boys easier and refused to be drawn to admit that he manipulated them.
He said the golden rule at his parlour was that none of the "boys" working for him were allowed to have penetrative sex with clients.
According to reports, the judgment would be read over two days over the coming week.
Ackerman was charged alongside acting judge and senior advocate Paul Kennedy for allegedly running the human trafficking ring between September 2020 and July 2021.
However, Kennedy, who was at the time the first accused in the matter, committed suicide in 2022, ahead of his court appearance, leaving Ackerman as the first accused.