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Pastor in court for alleged rape and sexual grooming of congregants

A 60-year-old pastor appeared in the Qumbu Magistrates Court on Wednesday charged with four counts of rape and three counts of sexual grooming.

The spokesperson of the national prosecuting authority (NPA) in the Eastern Cape Luxolo Tyali said the pastor is from Natala village in Ngcolokini area of Qumbu district.

Tyali said the pastor allegedly preyed on four girls, then aged between 13 and 17, who were members of his church.

“Three of the victims grew up in the pastor’s family home because his wife is their maternal aunt.

“The offences are alleged to have taken place between 2010 and 2018 but they were only reported in January 2020 after the complainants had moved to stay elsewhere. Previous attempts by the complainants to report the matter before were allegedly frustrated by relatives and congregants. It is alleged that they were discouraged from exposing themselves to ‘ungodly’ things like watching television and socialising with people who do not attend the same church as them,” Tyali said.

During the pastor’s brief court appearance on Wednesday, the pastor indicated that he would secure the services of a private attorney, Tyali said.

“The prosecution did not oppose bail and the court granted him R5 000 bail with strict conditions. The conditions include that the pastor does not contact the complainants, whether directly or indirectly and does not mention their names when conducting sermons at his church.

“The case against the pastor was postponed to 6 October for legal representation,” Tyali said.

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