Mayoral team, church leaders meet delegation on claims against ministry head
Congregants from the Port Elizabeth branch of a ministry led by an alleged sex-pest pastor from Durban had a meeting with mayor Athol Trollip yesterday. This comes as televangelist Timothy Omotoso, 58, who is believed to be in Port Elizabeth, is being investigated by the Hawks for suspected sex crimes.
The Jesus Dominion International ministry owned by Omotoso has a church in Govan Mbeki Avenue.
And at least one Port Elizabeth woman claims she is among victims allegedly molested by Omotoso.
The 25-year-old woman, who declined to be named, alleges she was molested at the age of 14 during an incident in Durban.
Trollip’s spokesman, Sibongile Dimbaza, said the meeting had been arranged by the municipality after widespread coverage of the allegations made against Omotoso.
“The Port Elizabeth branch of the church has been affected by the allegations and thus the leadership needed to understand what the issues were as this affects the metro in one form or the other,” he said.
About 14 church members from Omotoso’s Port Elizabeth branch sat in on the meeting at the Port Elizabeth City Hall.
Trollip, municipal human settlements political head Nqaba Bhanga, Port Elizabeth Anglican Bishop Bethlehem Nopece and Ebenezer International Christian Church Pastor Neville Goldman also took part in the meeting.
“The meeting was requested by [Bhanga] as a community leader so that the city can understand the safety implications around what’s taking place at that church,” Dimbaza said.
“The safety and security of our residents is of utmost importance to the municipality.”
Social media has been abuzz with the claims against the widely celebrated pastor.
This comes in the wake of a TV feature in which the allegations were made by a number of women who have had contact with him during his ministerial work.
“Trollip, Bhanga and senior leaders of the clergy within the metro wanted to be taken into confidence by the church’s delegation,” Dimbaza said.
He would not divulge details about the outcome of the meeting.
“The matter is before the Hawks for investigation,” he said.
“We should, therefore, allow these processes to run unhindered so that the law can take its course.”
Nopece said the meeting had been called following concerns by the mayor and his team, who feared the sex allegations would create instability in the metro.
“The delegation from [Omotoso’s church] spoke highly of him and how he had delivered them from all sorts of things, including drugs,” he said.
“It was at this stage that Goldman reminded them about Jesus Christ, saying He did the deliverance and we were all His vessels.”
Nopece said the delegation had also claimed that a group of pastors from Omotoso’s church were behind the scandal and had implicated him in the alleged sex crimes.
“I asked them why they did not institute pastoral discipline against such pastors,” he said.
“It would appear they are all clinging to [Omotoso] because of their testimony that he has changed them.”
Special Assignment aired a feature on SABC3 on Monday night about Omotoso and the alleged crimes.