OSHAKATI - The first accused in the humana trafficking case currently before the Oshakati Magistrate’s Court, Sylvia Bonifatius, 18, alleged in her bail application hearing that she concealed the whereabouts of the victim to protect her against her father.
According to her, the father of the human trafficking victim was abusive as he had beaten his daughter and chased her from their house. The girl was reprimanded after a drinking spree.
Bonifatius during cross-examination by the prosecutor Chrisna Masule told the court the victim had approached her for accommodation and money, and because she did not have money, instead offered her accommodation.
“I did not give her money, but I offered her a place to stay in Henties Bay,” Bonifatius told the court.
However, Masule argued that Bonifatius had promised to take the victim to Henties Bay but she instead landed up at the house of Bonifatius’ lover, Fredricks Jacobus Steven van Zyl, who is the co-accused in the case.
Bonifatius faces charges of trafficking in person, two counts of rape and drugging a female for unlawful carnal intercourse under the Immoral Practices Act.
Her co-accused Van Zyl faces charges of human trafficking, two counts of rape and using means to stupefy a female for unlawful carnal intercourse under the same act. The bail hearing was remanded to today for continuation.
The state during their first appearance objected to bail because of the seriousness of the case, fear of interference and the possibility of absconding and because the investigation was still at a very sensitive stage.
During the cross-examination, the court further heard Bonifatius had given authorities different birth dates from that which is contained in her national documents to protect her boyfriend from having charges laid against him for being with a minor.
The accused was adamant she was born in 1999 and not in 1998 as she had indicated in other documents earlier.
“I lied to save my boyfriend because the police wanted to open a case against my boyfriend because I am a minor,” said Bonifatius.
Part of her argument to apply for bail is that she is a minor hence cannot be kept in custody.
The court also heard that Bonifatius was orphaned at two years and because of feuds between her paternal and maternal family she is currently living with a certain Pienaar, an advocate at the Oshakati High Court.
Meanwhile, learners of the Okatana Secondary School where the victim is schooling as well as community members staged a demonstration to petition the court against granting the duo bail.
“We suggest, if they are kept in prison, they be given a punishment equal to all the crimes they have committed which include rape, human trafficking and kidnap. They must be given a long sentence just to know what they did is not acceptable in society,” Sigo Amunyela read the petition on behalf of the demonstrators.
The court will tomorrow hear evidence from Bonifatius’ lawyers and cross-examination of the second accused.