Case of Milnerton trio accused of trafficking women postponed again

Brothers Edward and Yannick Ayuk during the court’s site visit. Picture Mahira Duval

Brothers Edward and Yannick Ayuk during the court’s site visit. Picture Mahira Duval

Published Mar 30, 2024


Cape Town - The Milnerton trio accused of trafficking women to the Western Cape and forcing them into prostitution will have to wait to know their fate next month as the Western Cape High Court is not yet ready to deliver a judgment.

The trial which commenced in November 2011 saw two Cameroonian cousins, Edward and Yannick Ayuk, being slapped with more than 40 charges including rape, kidnapping, assault and other offences for allegedly running a brothel in Milnerton.

According to the State’s case along with Edward’s wife, Leandre Williams, they lured women from Springbok and East London to Cape Town under false pretences and made them walk the streets to solicit clients.

Edward’s wife, Leandre Williams. Picture Mahira Duval

During the trial, several of the women took the stand at the High Court. After extensive testimonies by the women, police officers and other officials, the defence lawyer for the cousins, advocate Bash Sibda, successfully argued for the acquittal of Yannick on 27 charges saying the State had not proved their case against him.

Judge Alma de Wet subsequently ruled that 27 charges be dropped against Yannick while Edward was acquitted on four counts of rape.

In their defence, the cousins claimed that a “dirty cop” who allegedly operated as a pimp in the area conspired with other officers to have them arrested. This was rejected by the State.

Earlier this month legal teams went head to head as the defence teams called for their clients to be acquitted claiming the State had “hopelessly failed” to prove the human trafficking charges, saying none of the victims were held captive or had been trafficked.

The trio returned to court this week and the magistrate indicated she was not yet ready to hand down judgment so the case was postponed to May 3.

He also said the State had not followed procedures in terms of the Human Trafficking Act by completing a certificate.

State prosecutor, Maria Marshall, rejected this saying that the legislation defined human trafficking and not what the public perceived it to be as portrayed in movies.

She said the State was not required to provide a certificate under the Act and that the documentation referred to was instead a “Letter of Reference” and was required when the State had to decide whether or not to prosecute a victim of human trafficking who as a result committed a crime.