‘Hit men’ threats in rape case
Move to have Durban pastor denied bail
DEATH threats and allegations of hit men being unleashed on victims came to the fore in the bail application yesterday of a Durban pastor who faces charges of rape, kidnapping and sexual assault.
This was revealed by investigating officer Sergeant Nomathemba Khwela, who testified in the Ntuzuma Magistrate’s Court against the pastor being granted bail.
The pastor, who cannot be named until he has pleaded, was arrested last month after community members from Richmond Farm brought down the marquee his church operated from, when they learnt he had allegedly sexually assaulted some congregants.
“We have a strong case,” Khwela said. She testified to having a witness who saw the pastor drag one of his victims out her home in the early hours and shove her into his car.
“The children are afraid of him. They made statements saying they did not want him to get bail,” Khwela said.
She said the victims were between the ages of 15 and 18.
The young women had allegedly received death threats from the church congregants. Khwela said members of the congregation went to one of the complainant’s home and told the woman that if her daughter did not withdraw the charges, her daughter would find herself in danger.
Khwela, who has been in the police service for the past 15 years, said some of the victims said they received calls that there were hit men who were out to kill them. She said another victim had been assaulted by elders of the church the pastor had founded.
One of the pastor’s alleged victims who was reportedly assaulted was staying with one of the church elders.
However, Khela could not find the victim. “I called her mother, who said she no longer stays with her, and the mother said her daughter no longer wanted to open the case,” she said.
The investigating officer opposed bail, saying it would anger the community if the pastor was released. She said that when his congregants tried to re-erect the marquee, community members tore it down again.
She alleged the pastor’s modus operandi was to target children who were without fathers or raised by their mothers or grandmothers.
The bail application is expected to continue on December 14.