Zephany Nurse ruling 'should not apply to other child victims'

13 August 2019 - 15:11 By Nomahlubi Jordaan
The cover of the book penned by Zephany Nurse.
The cover of the book penned by Zephany Nurse.
Image: Supplied

Zephany Nurse, who was stolen from a hospital soon after her birth, supports the Centre for Child Law's stance on protecting children's identities.

"I continue to strongly support the main case made by the Centre for Child Law and other applicants in this matter," Nurse said in the affidavit supporting her application to reveal her identity.

She wants to use the name she grew up with, as a book about her life is about to be released.

Nurse was raised by her kidnapper, believing that she and her husband were her real parents, until the discovery of her biological identity when she was 17. Her "mommy" has since been sentenced to a decade behind bars.

The Pretoria high court on Tuesday granted Nurse an order that lifted the restrictions relating to the publication of her identity as contained in the orders granted by the same court on April 21 2015 and July 11 2017.

"I believe that the case is necessary to ensure that children (and even young adults) who are vulnerable like I was when I turned 18, and actually for some time thereafter, are protected from what can be the brutal effects of media publicity, that they moreover are able to disclose their identity only on their own terms ... " Nurse said in her affidavit.

The Centre for Child Law said its stance on the protection of children’s identities remained. "There should be default protection in the law of the identity of child victims, witnesses and offenders. This protection should extend to after the child turns 18," the centre said in a statement.

The centre has other child clients whose identities have never been revealed.

"They were only made known to the courts to illustrate the positive impact of the protection of their identity. We are duty-bound to continue to protect their identity and the centre urges the media to respect their dignity and privacy, and not attempt to publish their identity and await the judgment of the constitutional court."

In May, Nurse applied to the constitutional court for its ratification of the supreme court of appeal decision last September banning the identification of child victims of crime.

Nurse was abducted from Groote Schuur Hospital in Cape Town in 1997. When her biological family discovered her whereabouts in February 2015‚ the woman she had known as her mother was arrested, and then jailed.