WINDHOEK - South African citizen Marthinus Pretorius, 48, yesterday pleaded guilty to six counts of rape when his trial started in the Windhoek High Court before Deputy Judge President Hosea Angula.
He however pleaded not guilty to six counts of child trafficking and said the girls were brought to him or came on their own free will and he never detained any of them at his house.
In a plea explanation read into the record by his new state-funded lawyer Zacharias Grobler, Pretorius admitted that he had sex with under-aged girls at his residence in Vineta, Swakopmund.
He admitted to having wrongfully and unlawfully committed a sexual act with a female minor, who was 13 years old at the time, during five occasions in May 2012 and that coercive circumstances were present in that the complainant was under the age of 14 years and he was more than three years older than her, making him, in law, guilty of the charge of rape.
He further admitted to having committed a sexual act with another minor female, aged 14, during June of 2012 and that coercive circumstances were present in that the complainant was 14 years old at the time and was exceptionally vulnerable because of her age.
He further stated that on two occasions during May, the first complainant was accompanied by Johanna Lukas and on the other three occasions she came alone. Lukas was already convicted by Judge President Petrus Damaseb and sentenced to 13 years in prison in 2015.
Pretorius further stated that at all occasions, he paid the complainants “for services rendered” and deny that he used force or in any manner compelled them to have sex with him.
He further said that he pleads not guilty to the charges of trafficking. “All the complainants came to my house voluntarily on the basis that I pay them for sex and I cannot understand on what basis I can be held liable of trafficking,” he said and added: “I furthermore did not detain any girl at my house against her will.”
Pretorius was charged with 13 charges of rape and trafficking in persons, alternatively committing a sexual act with a child below 16 years of age for allegedly defiling three minor girls while he was attached at Swakopmund’s Rössing Mine in 2012. The state however withdrew the charges for the third complainant as it came to light that she was 18 years old and was coerced by her mother to engage in intercourse with Pretorius in exchange for money.
Pretorius managed to flee to his native South Africa after his alleged devious schemes to procure young girls from a Swakopmund woman for his perverted sexual pleasures. He was arrested in Johannesburg, South Africa in March 2016 after the Namibian authorities asked the South African authorities to extradite him to Namibia to stand trial on his alleged misdeeds, but was only extradited to Namibia in December last year due to the long extradition process.
He is currently being held at the Windhoek Correctional Facility’s section for trial-awaiting prisoners.
The prosecution is represented by state advocate Felicitas Sikerete-Vendura.
The trial will continue on November 12.