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Lack of Igbo interpreter stalls hearing

The absence of a Nigerian interpreter yesterday resulted in the delay of the bail hearing of two men and a woman accused of trafficking and sexually exploiting four Mpumalanga girls.

A 42-year-old Nigerian national had requested the services of an Igbo language interpreter as he couldn’t understand English. The matter was not heard at the Springs Magistrate’s Court yesterday after an interpreter failed to arrive.

Prosecutor Andrew Mphaga said he had made earlier arrangements with the court manager to provide the interpreter. “We have been waiting for the interpreter from morning and we even made arrangements for a driver to fetch him.

We are now told that the interpreter is busy in the Boksburg Magistrate’s Court with a trial,” he said.

Magistrate Carla Verster told the state to make sure that the interpreter was available in the next hearing.

Luke Botha, 43, and Ezobie Obi were due to apply for bail for human trafficking, possession of drugs, sexual exploitation of children and possession of pornography after police arrested them at a brothel in Springs two months ago.

The third suspect, Mahlatsi Hlatswayo, 25, believed to be the woman who lured the four girls from Secunda to Springs, also appeared alongside the two men.

She is out on R2000 bail.

Verster postponed the matter to August 18. The four rescued girls were between the ages of 14 and 17 years. Police found the teenagers in what looked like a normal barbershop while it was in fact a brothel.