Supporters of sex-pest accused Nigerian pastor Tim Omotoso will take to the streets of Durban today in solidarity with the controversial televangelist.
He has been charged with human trafficking and sexual violence.
The Jesus Dominion International church and its members are demanding that the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) stop delaying Omotoso’s case – and also that he be released on bail.
The church has warned that the charges against their pastor could result in xenophobic violence.
“The allegations against him have never been tested in any court of law,” the church said yesterday.
“As South African members of the Jesus Dominion International, we feel these allegations are politically motivated and have the potential to create xenophobic sentiments and violence.”
Omotoso was arrested at the Port Elizabeth International Airport in April. The 59-year-old father of three is alleged to have molested and raped at least 30 young women who attend his church.
The allegations became public after an investigation by the SABC’s Special Assignment.
He faces 22 charges related to contravening the Sexual Offences Act‚ with two definite charges of rape contained in the charge sheet.
Omotoso is a senior pastor of Jesus Dominion International headquartered in Durban‚ with branches in parts of the country, including in Port Elizabeth. He is accused of trafficking women and girls from various branches of his church in the country and taking them to a house in Umhlanga Rocks‚ KwaZulu-Natal‚ where they were allegedly sexually exploited.
His church said it was disheartened and disappointed by the conduct of the Hawks‚ NPA and the “violent behaviour” against Omotoso.
“We demand that the NPA stop the delays and abuse of the criminal justice system – and also that Tim Omotoso has a right to be released on bail‚” the church said.
It claimed the Hawks had agreed to meet with Omotoso and his legal team before his arrest to first inquire about the allegations against the pastor.
“But to our horror and dismay, it was a scheduled arrest without a warrant,” the church said.
“It was dramatically played out in front of the pubic and media – and was clearly intended to humiliate and embarrass him.
“It signals the narrative of a ploy by state authorities.”
Omotoso will appear in court again on August 29 for a formal bail application.