A pastor has been granted bail of R2000 in the Bizana Magistrate Court, in the Eastern Cape.
He allegedly raped two minors after they brought to him for healing at KwaMangqofoza village in Mbizana.
The court was also informed that there are other young girls, some as young as 12 that might have been sexually abused by the accused. Women and children protested outside the court demanding justice.
The incidents allegedly took place between June and December last year.
Women and children outside the court called for the protection of young girls that become victims of sexual predators masquerading as religious leaders. It is alleged that other victims are fearing to come forward as they are being threatened.
The Director of Luthando Community Development, a local non-governmental organization (NGO), Thobeka Mafumbathasays says the community is unhappy about the abuse of women and children in the rural areas.
“The 16 year old girl was discovered to be pregnant by the parents actually aborted without the consent of the parents and they even put a loop fromSt Patrick’s Hospital. The 12-year-old was subsequently raped. Currently, as we speak the pastor is out on a R2000 bail. We feel this is a violation of human rights as we have also discovered that there are many other kids that have been raped by the same man in the community, but people are fearing for their lives. People are afraid because of the threats leveled against them,” says Mafumbatha.
The African National Congress (ANC) Women’s League’s, Nombuso Mthwane Chiya says religious leaders who are sexual predators should be behind bars.
“We are against this form of abuse. We are fighting against the pastor who raped the two sisters from the same family. We are saying down with him! He must not be granted bail. He has violated women’s rights , he has actually ruined the future of these young kids,” says Chiya.
The families of the victims are still in shock.
“It came as a shock to us , we could not believe that an old man like this, who calls himself a pastor, would rape young girls as young as 12 and 16. We are really disappointed about the justice system in this case. This pastor came because he said he has powers to heal epilepsy but instead of healing the kids , he just raped them.”
The Ward 20 Councillor in the Winnie Madikizela Mandela Municipality, Sonele Nomvalo, says gender based violence in the rural areas is alarming.
“We are here to fight against gender Based violence , where women and children are now raped by the so called pastors. We are saying we will stand firm against any form of abuse , we will stand firm against rape, murder and all forms of gender based violation in the rural areas. We are calling upon justice to take the GVB serious,” says Nomvalo.
Thobeka Mafumabatha believes that the issue of Gender-Based-Violence must always be in the spotlight.
“Gender-Based-Violence is an issue that should be tackled 365 days , we will not be silence until justice is being served , so that other young girls out there who are suffering in the hands of pastors who take advantage of the innocent , who take advantage community members who are suffering as this man was approached by the a family member because the girl was sick at that particular time,” says Mafumabatha.
The case has been postponed to the 22nd of May. NGO’s and the local women says they will continue to protest until justice is served.