A controversial Klerksdorp pastor will know on Tuesday whether he will be allowed out of police custody after being charged on several counts of rape and sexual assault.
Bishop TJ Pitso‚ who heads Jehovah Shammah International Ministries‚ stands accused of preying on his female congregants. He appeared briefly in court on Monday and was remanded in custody.
He will appear in the Klerksdorp Magistrate’s Court on Tuesday where he is expected to lodge a bail application. He faces five counts of rape and seven counts of sexual assault.
North West police spokesperson Lieutenant-Colonel Adele Myburgh said Pitso handed himself over after being called in by the investigating officer.
“The bishop was called in by the detective who said he must appear in court [on Monday]. He is not on the run and we’ve had his full cooperation.”
Myburgh confirmed that Pitso’s bail application had been postponed until Tuesday.
Last month the Sunday Times reported the ordeal of ten women allegedly at the hands of Pitso‚ who styles himself as “the prophet who cares”.
The victims‚ who all attended his church‚ came forward last month when Pitso’s former personal assistant of 10 years spilled the beans on radio station Star FM and social media‚ saying how he allegedly used her to deceive people.
She claimed she was instructed to spy on naked women during bath time at church crusades to look for women with genitalia “shaped in a way that is preferred by the bishop”.
Pitso would later call these women in for prayer and counselling sessions‚ where he allegedly demanded sex. He allegedly told them it would make him more powerful and able to perform more miracles.
The victims are between the ages of 22 and 36.
The courtroom was packed with angry community members. Pitso’s family was in attendance to support him.
Said the former PA: “I’m happy and relieved. The law has taken the right direction. He has to pay for what he did.”
She said there were many other women who hadn’t come forward yet‚ claiming there were more victims.
“The others are scared to come out. I think they will now since he has been arrested. He promised to kill us. People are thinking he’s a very powerful man.”
She claims that she and the victims have received threatening SMSes and phone calls from church members.
He promised to kill us. People are thinking he’s a very powerful man.
The EFF’s North West secretary‚ Papiki Babuile‚ said: “They are getting threats that they are going to die and that God will punish them.”
Babuile said Pitso denies knowing the victims and said he only knows the former PA.
“He denies knowing the [other] women. About four were pastors in his church and today said he doesn’t know them. There are witnesses and people who know they were pastors in his church. It means he’s a liar.”
Church spokesman Joseph Pitso has dismissed the allegations as a smear campaign set up by Pitso’s former PA after Pitso refused to pay her money she demanded.
Myburgh said she was not aware of the claim of threats. He said the more these types of matters were reported and given media attention‚ the more ladies tended to come forward.
“These cases happened a long time ago. The first one was in 2015. It’s a bit of a challenge. How do you prove an allegation that happened so long ago?”
BY TANYA STEENKAMP TimesLIVE
Source: TMG Digital