Brothel trial postponed over ill magistrate

Durban - The trial of a Durban doctor accused of running a brothel with young girls was postponed in the Durban Regional Court on Monday after the presiding magistrate took ill.

The court heard earlier that one of the accused had not been brought to court.

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 all pleaded not guilty to 156 charges, including assault, rape, sexual exploitation of a child, and racketeering.

Prosecutor Yuri Gangai told the court that the prison lorry which was supposed to bring Dlamini to court had been involved in an accident.

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

"I am also not feeling well," he said.

On Friday an 18-year-old woman, who may not be named, told the court she gave birth to a baby four months after her 15th birthday and returned to prostitution three months later.

She testified that her addiction to drugs supplied by Zweni kept her working, first at Victoria Lodge and then Inn Town Lodge - the hotel Rugnath owned.

She admitted she was not being guarded by anyone and there was nothing physically stopping her from running away.

"I was addicted to drugs. All I could think about was the drugs," she said.