The posh uMhlanga home rented by a televangelist where several girls are staying much to the neighbours ire. PICTURE/ ANA PICS
The posh uMhlanga home rented by a televangelist where several girls are staying much to the neighbours ire. PICTURE/ ANA PICS
Two of the women in the house rented by a pastor arrested for human trafficking and sexual assault. PICTURE/ ANA
Two of the women in the house rented by a pastor arrested for human trafficking and sexual assault. PICTURE/ ANA
DURBAN - The owner of the uMhlanga house that has been linked to the country’s high-profile human-trafficking case wants the tenants out.

The eight-bedroom house in the upmarket Ridge Road, was allegedly where a Nigerian pastor took more than 30 girls and women from various branches of his church and sexually abused them.

Women are still living in the house, although the controversial televangelist pastor, who cannot be named at this stage, is now in custody in Port Elizabeth where he has been charged with about 22counts of human trafficking and sexual assault.

The 58-year-old pastor from a Durban church was arrested by the Hawks at Port Elizabeth Airport last month after getting off a plane from Durban. He is expected to be in court tomorrow to resume his fight for bail.

The uMhlanga house was rented to the church for about R60000 a month and the pastor signed the lease, the letting agent said.

The owner, a doctor, said he had given the job of letting out the house to the local agent and a two-year lease had been signed.

“He (the agent) has taken his commission and I want the people out,” the owner said.

The agent confirmed that the owner “was not happy with the situation”.

The lease expires in January, “but we will have to look at the options”, the agent said.

The investigating officer, Warrant Officer Peter Plaatjies, told the Port Elizabeth Magistrate’s Court earlier this month that the pastor’s modus operandi had been the same in each of the cases he was facing.

Senior church members would recruit “poor girls” with the promise that the pastor would “change their lives”.

“Pictures would be taken and interviews would be conducted. Once he was satisfied with the girls’ looks, it would be arranged for them to be brought to Durban,” he alleged.

“At times there would be 40girls in a room, (the pastor) would choose one to come to a bedroom and sexual advances would be made, each time quoting a particular verse from the Bible,” it was alleged.

While the letting agent initially said last night that the pastor had lived in the house because he had seen him and his car there on the few occasions he had visited, he went on to explain that the pastor also rented another property in the area, “so I am not quite sure where he lived permanently”.

The pastor’s lawyer, Alwyn Griebenow, said last night that his client had never lived in the Ridge Road house, which was paid for by the church.

“The girls all sang in a choir and that is why they stayed in the house,” Griebenow said.

Neighbours near the uMhlanga house said they were thrilled that the tenants would finally move.

“I have been complaining to various people for more than a year. I suspected something funny was going on there,” said a man who also remembered seeing the pastor standing on the sea-facing verandah in his underpants.

“There’s been a lot of noise - shouting, laughing, dancing and partying - and, on a number of occasions, screaming from a young girl as if she was in distress,” he claimed.

He had seen girls walking around the verandah naked, wearing skimpy clothing, and doing each other’s hair and taking “selfies”.

“There were parties right until 4am.”

At times, there were up to 27women in the house, he claimed, and now and then, a bus would come and pick them up, and then return them.

“I complained to the security company in the area to do something about the noise, but they could not get through the house gates, so I had to ask them through the gates to keep the noise down.”

Concerned that the house was being used as a bed and breakfast (B&B), he also complained to the municipality, who reported back that it was a single residential house.

“That does not mean it can be used by more than 20 women,” the neighbour said.

The occupants were still noisy every night and it still sounded like there were big parties going on at times, he said.

“There is laughing and joking with young men and the girls, as well as loud music. It’s very bad behaviour.

“It is all a bit distressing when you pay so much to live in this area. My wife is certainly not happy about it.”

Local DA councillor Heinz de Boer said he had sent a series of e-mails to various municipal departments when it was thought the occupants were running a B&B, and he would follow up if there were any other outcomes of other investigations.

“This is a classic example of how, if things are not looked into timeously, there are underlying problems,” De Boer said.

The pastor’s lawyer said the police had said in court that there were eight girls now living in the house.

On Tuesday, the Daily News tried to speak to two of the women who left the house and walked down the road, but they said they did not want to talk to the media.

Daily News