The Gauteng High Court in Pretoria has given Zephany Nurse, who was kidnapped shortly after birth from a Cape Town hospital, the go-ahead to reveal her identity.
She now identifies as 22-year-old Miché Solomon.
The order was granted by Judge Peter Mabuse on Tuesday morning.
Mabuse terminated the restrictions relating to the publication of the identity of Nurse, which is contained in the orders of the court dated April 21, 2015, and July 11, 2017.
On July 11, 2017, the High Court dismissed an application to prevent the naming of child victims, witnesses and offenders after they turned 18.
The Centre for Child Law, Media Monitoring Africa, lawyers for Zephany Nurse – who was at the centre of a previous case – and others brought the case, seeking clarity on the interpretation of Section 154 of the Criminal Procedure Act, as well as an order granting further protection once children turned 18.
Several media houses opposed the case, including Media24.
Judge Wendy Hughes ruled that child witnesses, victims and offenders under the age of 18 are offered protection by Section 154 (3) of the Criminal Procedure Act 52 of 1977, but that the order sought by the applicants – that their identity be protected after the age of 18 – be dismissed as it was neither permissible nor required by the Constitution.
Furthermore, the court ruled that the true identity of Zephany Nurse be protected until after possible appeals.
Nurse wants to reveal her identity as a book telling her life will be published soon.
Nurse was kidnapped while her mother was sleeping just days after giving birth. The woman who kidnapped her was sentenced to 10 years behind bars.
The woman was arrested in February 2015 after Nurse’s true identity came to light when the girl’s biological sister, Cassidy, who is four years younger, told her parents that a girl in matric at her school bore a striking resemblance to her and her parents.
At the time, DNA tests confirmed the teenager was Nurse.
The kidnapper, however, said she had got the baby from a woman called Sylvia, who had been giving her fertility treatment in 1997 after she had miscarried.
In her affidavit filed in the High Court, Nurse said she has reached a point where, as part of “my healing process, I feel it is necessary to tell my side of the story and on my own terms”.
“My position now is fundamentally different to what it was when the order of this court was granted. I have now managed to come to grips with my ‘new reality’,” she said.
She said, although she now wanted to reveal her identity to the world, she supported the main application made by Centre for Child Law and other applicants in the matter.
“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, to be protected from what can be the brutal effects of media publicity, that they moreover are able to disclose their identity only on their terms …”