Gallery stunned by trafficking testimony

12 October 2018 | Justice


Shocking revelations have emerged in the bail application of two suspects arrested for allegedly trafficking and sexually abusing a 14-year-old schoolgirl.

Frederick Jacobus van Zyl (32) and Sylvia Bonifatius (20) are facing charges of human trafficking, two counts of rape, committing immoral practices, drugging a female for unlawful intercourse and stupefying a female for unlawful intercourse.

The two are accused of kidnapping, drugging and raping an Oshakati schoolgirl.

They are applying for bail in the Oshakati Magistrate’s Court.

Both the State and the defence were expected to submit written arguments by yesterday.

Chief Magistrate Mika Namweya is likely to make a ruling today or on Monday.

The two accused and three State witnesses have made some shocking revelations, which shook the public gallery.

Under cross-examination by prosecutor Chrisna Masule, Bonifatius testified she was accommodated for four months in Oshakati’s Ehenye township by a stranger, whom she referred to as a “Samaritan”.

The Samaritan was identified as advocate Johan Pienaar, who is the deputy prosecutor-general stationed at the Oshakati High Court.

Pienaar is expected to testify once the matter goes to trial.

Bonifatius claimed she was a minor, but an immigration official who testified yesterday said according to a birth certificate retrieved from the Home Affairs office in Oshakati, Bonifatius is 20 years old.

Bonifatius also testified that she is registered at Namcol and should be released in order to write examinations. She could, however, not prove this.

At first she informed the court that a relative would bring proof to the court, which never happened.

She also claimed her examination timetable was lodged between her confiscated cellphone and its cover, but no such document emerged when the phone was brought to court.

The State also enquired from Namcol and her name was not found among the institution’s records.

The State’s second witness, Constable Abraham Eliaser, who is the investigating officer in the matter, testified that the two suspects were only arrested in September, after the case was opened in July.

The defence grilled Eliaser on this issue, saying one of the grounds on which the State is opposing bail is that the matter is serious. However, the suspects were only arrested months after the case was lodged.

Eliaser said it was a complicated case and it was not easy to track down the two suspects.

He said Bonifatius had moved from the last address she had given the police.

Explaining why Van Zyl was not arrested at the time the case was opened, Eliaser said the name provided to him was Steven, which is the suspect’s nickname.

It was also revealed that the victim had turned to her friend Bonifatius when her father had beaten her, and that she wanted money.

Eliaser disputed that the girl had been beaten by her father and said she had only been yelled at.

Bonifatius is represented by Simson Aingura, while Pieter Greyling appears for Van Zyl.

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