Woman ignored sex assaults on child bride, 13

Child bride had to do what husband wished, court hears

Port Elizabeth High Court has heard how a 63-year-old woman ignored sex assaults on a 13-year-old girl. File picture
Port Elizabeth High Court has heard how a 63-year-old woman ignored sex assaults on a 13-year-old girl. File picture
Image: Deneesha Pillay

A 63-year-old woman facing two charges related to human trafficking admitted that she knew the young girl she had allegedly helped sell as a child bride was being sexually assaulted by the woman’s brother but did nothing about it.

In her statement to police, read into the record on Thursday, the Port Elizabeth High Court heard that when the 13-year-old girl told the woman that the woman’s brother, 61, demanded sex from her, she had told the girl she had to do what her “husband” wanted.

“If your husband wants sex, then you must give him what he wants,” the woman said in the statement.

The woman, along with her brother and the girl’s 63-year-old uncle, are charged with human trafficking, and a separate charge of human trafficking culminating in a forced marriage for the purpose of sexual exploitation.

The two charges are different in context.

The “husband” faces two additional charges of rape.

None of the accused are being named, to protect the identity of the alleged victim.

The woman said she had known the girl’s mother, who died in 2010, and the uncle as they had attended the same African Gospel Church in Shakaskraal, KwaZulu-Natal.

She said the uncle had told her that he was having problems with the girl because she was mischievous and stayed out at night.

The woman then told the uncle she would take the girl in and look after her, which she did.

At the end of 2015, the girl went to live with the woman’s daughter, 46, in Bizana and by March 2016 lobola negotiations had begun for the girl to marry the woman’s brother, who lived and worked in Port Elizabeth.

The woman claimed she did not know about the marriage proposal and only became aware of it when her brother called her to say he wanted to marry the girl and that the woman would need to go speak to the girl’s family and arrange for the negotiations to take place.

“I asked [my brother] over the phone if he knows [the girl].

“He said he had never seen her but when he called [my daughter], she would answer the phone and that is how he got to know her,” she said in the statement.

The woman agreed to talk to the girl’s uncle and did so a few days later when she met him at church.

The woman claimed that the uncle had not agreed at first to the marriage but, at a later stage, allegedly after the girl spoke to her uncle, he had agreed.

Shortly after that, R14,000 was deposited into the woman’s bank account, and was then given to the girl’s uncle.

In total, R30,000 had been paid for the girl, the woman said. She said her brother had called her one day and asked her to go to Bizana to stay with the girl while he returned to Port Elizabeth for work, which she did.

Unable to recall specific dates, the woman said sometime around October 2016 the girl had become sick and when she told her brother, he had said the girl must be sent to Port Elizabeth to live with him at his home in Greenbushes.

She then took the girl to Durban and sent her by taxi to Port Elizabeth.

By January 2017, the girl had returned to Bizana and when she was about to be sent back to Port Elizabeth a few months later, she told the woman about the sexual demands the man had made.

“I told her I had nothing to do with the [marriage] arrangements,” the woman said.

It was then, according to the statement, that the woman told the girl she should do as her husband wished.

The case continues.