Nigerian accused of sex slavery in SA without permit for 19 years

18 April 2019 - 16:22 By Matti Gellman
Ndubuisi Okafor, who is charged with human trafficking, has been in SA since 2006 and had his application for an asylum seeker permit refused.
Ndubuisi Okafor, who is charged with human trafficking, has been in SA since 2006 and had his application for an asylum seeker permit refused.
Image: GroundUp

A Nigerian accused of trafficking a woman into sex slavery has been living in SA without a permit since 2006, the Cape Town magistrate's court was told.

Ndubuisi Okafor, 34, said his 2006 application for an asylum seeker's permit was declined. He applied again in 2013, he said, but had not had a response from the home affairs department.

But the prosecution said the second application had been declined as well because Okafor had been unable to prove he was cohabiting with his SA girlfriend.

The Nigerian and a South African, Molapo Lebogang, 34, are accused of transporting a woman from Johannesburg to Cape Town to sell her into the sex trade. They have pleaded not guilty to human trafficking and other charges.

In his affidavit in support of a bail application, Okafor said he was planning to marry his SA girlfriend and had a child to look after.

He said he had no history of violence, no intention of seeking out the woman who made the complaint of sex trafficking and only one prior conviction, which was related to drugs.

On the witness stand, speaking through an Ibo translator, Okafor was asked to explain why he did not have a valid asylum seeker permit even though he had applied for one when he entered SA in 2006 and again in 2013.

Okafor said his first application was rejected and his second still pending. His lawyer, Bongani Mngeni, asked for a postponement so that confusion over the second permit could be clarified with home affairs.

Mngeni also asked the magistrate to move the accused to a different police station so Lebogang could receive better care for her tuberculosis. The request was denied and the bail application was adjourned until April 23.

The state is opposing bail. Okafor and Lebogang have been in custody since March 28.


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