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I'm ready to tell my story, stolen baby Zephany Nurse says in court bid to lift veil of anonymity

03 August 2019 - 13:29 By TimesLIVE
Zephany Nurse's biological parents, Celeste and Morne, after being reunited with their daughter in 2015.
Zephany Nurse's biological parents, Celeste and Morne, after being reunited with their daughter in 2015.
Image: Esa Alexander

Zephany Nurse, who was stolen from a hospital in Cape Town as a newborn and reunited with her biological parents when she was 17, wants to reveal her identity to the world.

Nurse, now 22, has applied to the high court in Pretoria for the scrapping of an interim interdict protecting her identity, Netwerk24 reported on Saturday.

She has written a book about her life, which is due for publication later this month, and wants permission to reveal the name she grew up with.

In her affidavit, Nurse — who is identified by the initials KL — says her position is “fundamentally different from when the order was granted”, adding that she has made peace with her “new reality”.

She said she was grateful for the protection the interdict had given her.

“It would have been much worse if my identity was known to the public when I was younger and paraded in a public court. I also would never have reached the point where I am now in my life without the interdict’s protection,” she said.

But now she was ready to tell her story, and wanted to come out of the shadows. “I hereby request that the current protection orders that apply to me be lifted.”

Nurse said she still believed people in a similar position to the one in which she had found herself needed the courts’ protection.

In May, she applied to the Constitutional Court for its ratification of the Supreme Court of Appeal decision last September banning identification of child victims of crime.

According to Netwerk24, her affidavit in the high court case says: “I think this case is necessary to make sure that children ... who are defenceless — as I was when I turned 18, and even for a while afterwards — against what can be considered the brutal attacks of the media and publicity are protected.”

The appeal court dismissed an appeal that Nurse’s true identity should be revealed once she turned 18. It said section 154(3) of the Criminal Procedure Act was constitutionally invalid to the extent that it did not protect the anonymity of children as victims of crimes.

Nurse was abducted from Groote Schuur Hospital two days after her birth in 1997. When her biological family discovered her whereabouts in February 2015‚ the woman she had known as her mother was arrested on charges of kidnapping.