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Pastor’s lawyer slams ‘bad reporting’

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A lawyer representing a controversial Durban pastor says his client has been maligned by bad reporting which alleges he is on the run.

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Bongani Cele, of Mhlanga Incorporated attorneys, speaking from Port Elizabeth where his client is expected to hand himself over to the police today, said reports regarding sexual exploitation and human trafficking are untrue.

“There have been several reports claiming that he is on the run, that is not the case. In fact the Hawks confirmed that he is not on the run and they are not looking for him. I think he will hand himself over today,” he said.

Allegations of human trafficking and sexual exploitation emerged following an expose about the pastor on the Special Assignment television programme on Sunday.

Hawks spokesperson Lieutenant Colonel Robert Netshiunda told The Mercury this week that they are investigating cases of human trafficking and sexual exploitation. He refused to say whether the pastor was a target of their investigation.

“The media has revealed his name, but we are not the media. We operate according to certain regulations and we do not reveal someone's name until they have appeared in court,” he said.

Asked whether they had interviewed the pastor, he said, “why would we talk to him, we are investigating cases not an individual.”

The latest scandal involving pastors has strengthened the resolve of the Commission for the Promotion and Protection of the Rights of Cultural, Religious and Linguistic Communities to regulate their activities.

Thoko Mkhwanazi-Xaluva of the Commission said, “We are going to parliament and our recommendation is pastors should belong to a structure, they cannot continue operating as individuals accountable to no one.”

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