‘Hit men’ threats in rape case

Move to have Dur­ban pas­tor de­nied bail

Daily News - - METRO - MPHATHI NXUMALO [email protected]

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.

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