PORT ELIZABETH, May 15 – A Nigerian pastor charged with human trafficking and the rape of young girls was back in the Port Elizabeth Magistrate’s Court on Tuesday together with his two alleged henchwomen.
The case against the three was transferred to the Port Elizabeth High Court for a pre-trial conference.
The 58-year-old televangelist allegedly trafficked more than 30 girls and women who were from various branches of his church to a house in Umhlanga, KwaZulu-Natal, where he allegedly sexually exploited them.
The pastor faces a string of charges related to contravention of the Sexual Offences Act‚ which include charges of rape, sexual assault in addition to racketeering.
Charges relating to the pastor’s alleged contravention of the immigration act were subsequently withdrawn.
Alleged accomplices Lusanda Solani, 36 of Durban, and Zukiswa Sitho, 28, of Port Elizabeth, allegedly recruited girls all over the country and monitored their movements in the houses where they were being kept.
A third woman Nobubele Mlindi was arrested in March, but the charges against her have since been withdrawn after the State indicated that evidence against her was weak for a successful prosecution.
The pastor was arrested on April 20, last year, by the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation, known as the Hawks, at the Port Elizabeth Airport.
According to the State, some of the alleged victims are as young as 13-years-old.
The case against was postponed until August 2.