Johannesburg – The trial of Nigerian national Ugochukwu Eke, who is facing charges of human trafficking, rape, kidnapping, assault and sexual exploitation, was on Friday partly held in camera to allow a minor to testify at the Johannesburg High Court.
Eke faces multiple charges emanating from incidents between May and August 2015 in Rosettenville, where he allegedly “trafficked” the minor for sexual purposes.
Eke allegedly forced the minor to take drugs and perform sexual activities for payment for his own financial benefits. He also allegedly raped the victim. On Friday morning, the court was cleared out to allow the minor to testify in camera.
Afterwards, Prosecutor Elize Le Roux asked State witness, Nicholas Terry Sera, how he met the minor. He said he met her at a shop, near his home in August 2015.
“I met her at the shop about two weeks before she came to church, and tried to speak to her but she refused. But I pursued her until she introduced herself … and she shared her problems with me,” he said.
“I wanted to offer her help that day, but she refused because she was accompanied by another lady who seemed to be a bodyguard at the time.”
Le Roux asked Sera how old he thought the minor was and he said she looked 15-years-old – the same age as his younger sister.
“She looked very young compared to the other lady who accompanied her,” Sera said, adding: “Our next meeting I was rushing to work and I couldn’t speak to her, and we met again later when I came back from work. And that’s when I managed to ask her about her whereabouts and her age”.
Sera told the court that he grew up in the community of Rosettenville and was aware of the prostitution in the area. He said when he saw the minor she seemed very young compared to the other ladies “so I approached her”.
Sera said the minor was edgy so he could not speak to her for a long time.
“When she realised that I wasn’t a customer, she went back to the other ladies, but before she could go I told her if she ever needed help she must come to the church [Trumpet of Revival].”
Sera said after two weeks the minor came looking for help at the church. “She came at night and had bruises all over her body and told me that she was tortured, forced to take drugs and sleep with older men,” recalled Sera.
Sera said the victim was then taken home after she spent three days at the church.
“Christina Motshabi Maqubela who is a nurse and church member was there to assist with medical related issues.”
Judge Majake Mabesele adjourned the matter to Monday when the last of the 12 State witnesses is expected to testify.