'Respect my privacy' - Zephany Nurse's emotional plea to media
Zephany Nurse, who was stolen from the Groote Schuur Hospital 19 years ago, has spoken out and asked the media to respect her feelings.
In her own words, issued in a statement by her lawyer Ann Skelton, Nurse said: "Wow you have done it again. Have you got no shame or a bit of remorse about what I am going through?
"I am writing my supplementary exams. You invaded personal things about me and my loved ones. Not even half of those things are true.
"You have no idea what it's like to walk in the street where people know me and judge me because of you invading personal things about my life.
"Don't you think for once that that is my mother? Whether it is true or not is not for you to toy with. Take all the professionalism away and think how it would be if this was you and your family, and your reputation gets swept through the disgusting gutters of filth.
"How would you look at yourself in the mirror? How would you feel as a father, desperately broken but still finds the goodness to support his family. While you are out there publishing stories which you yourself don't know if it's true or not?
"How would your daughter or son feel when their skin feels ripped of their face? Because of you. Appreciate the privacy you have with your family and think what I am going through, and my father and mother. I plead again: don't hurt me no more with these lies please. I am 18 years old. I am also trying to structure my life. Thank you."
Skelton, from the Centre for Child Law, said the message from Nurse followed media reports this week which were seen to be "spurious attacks on her and people close to her".
She said Nurse understood that the media had a duty to report what was happening in the trial, however the so-called attacks went beyond that.
"The girl known as Zephany Nurse has tried from the outset to keep her private life private."
A 51-year-old woman, accused of stealing Nurse is standing trial in the Western Cape High Court.
The accused, who may not be named as it could lead to the teenager being identified, faces charges related to the Children's Act, fraud, and kidnapping.
The woman was arrested shortly after police came knocking on February 25, 2015.
The matter came to light when the girl's biological sister, who is four years younger, told her parents that a matric girl at her school bore a striking resemblance to her and her parents.
When the parents discovered the girl had the same birthday as their missing child, they reported it to police.
DNA tests confirmed the teen was indeed their daughter.
Skelton said Nurse had had a difficult year adjusting to her new situation.
"Although she is a victim of a crime, she finds herself being vilified and criticized in the media. Although it is against her instinct to reveal her feelings in the media - and she feels she should not have to do so - wild speculation about her is making her extremely unhappy," Skelton said.
Nurse was currently writing her supplementary matric exams because last year's events took such a toll on her that she was unable to write with her classmates.