THE alleged rape, kidnapping, drugging and trafficking of a 14-year old girl by the 32-year old Jacobus Van
Zyl and his alleged female accomplice, Sylvia Bonifatius, is off to a slow
start at the Oshakati Magistrate’s Court.
Jakobus Steven van Zyl and Sylvia Bonifatius, whose real age is still under dispute, are charged with
kidnapping, human trafficking and drugging a teenager for unlawful carnal
The defence team and state prosecutors spent the first day cross-examining Bonifatius, who is accused
number one. Her real age was a bone of contention as it would determine how she
would be tried.
She gave her birth date as 24 December 1999, but also insisted that she is currently 17 years old and is only
turning 18 this December.
However, the prosecution team produced a Home Affairs document showing that she was actually born 21 April
Chief Magistrate Mika Namweya reprimanded the prosecution team after defence lawyers accused them of applying
delay tactics by asking irrelevant questions during cross-examination.
Magistrate Namweya eventually postponed the hearing to the following day, with Van Zyl, who is accused number
two, the first to step into the witness box on the second day. Both Van Zyl and
Bonifatius indicated during examination that they are going to plead not guilty
to all the charges.
Van Zyl went as far as vowing to prove that what was reported in the media was inaccurate.
Various media outlets, using information from the police crime bulletin, reported that the teenage victim
ran away from her parents’ home following a disagreement. She then linked up
with Bonifatius, who provided her with a one-night accommodation before moving
her to Van Zyl’s house at Ondangwa where she was allegedly kept indoors and
raped for three consecutive days before being rescued by the police.
On Wednesday, a metaphorical fire fight erupted in Room D of the Oshakati Magistrate’s Court on Wednesday
afternoon when defence lawyer Peter Greyling clashed with human rights activist
and executive director of NamRights, Phil yaNangoloh.
At stake was whether the court should or should not grant bail to Van Zyl and
The spectacular exchange followed after YaNangoloh, who was summoned to testify for the State, testified
that human trafficking is an unbailable offense just like crimes against
Greyling, who is representing Van Zyl, asked whether YaNangoloh was trying to take away the court’s
jurisdiction of granting bail to his client.
“I am not particularly referring to your client. I am only stating what the law says,”
When YaNangoloh appeared to dodge a specific question, Greyling repeated it in a raised voice and
YaNangoloh reacted by accusing Greyling of shouting at him.
Magistrate Namweya agreed with YaNangoloh and cautioned Greyling not to do so again.
The court was adjourned after the cross-examination of YaNangoloh, today when businessman Sigo Amunyela will
testify for the State.
The hearing was preceded by a protest march by Okatana Secondary School learners, teachers, parents and
members of the community who handed over a petition demanding that the accused
be denied bail and be severely punished if found guilty.
Bonifatius is represented by Simson Aingura of Aingura Attorneys.
The prosecution team consists of Chrisna Masule and Dollien Gowases.