For six years, John Philane Masilela portrayed himself as a ‘prophet of God’ and the ‘pastor’ of Good Shepherd Church in Suncity KwaMhlanga, all the while using his influence to rape young people who looked up to him as a spiritual guide.
He would pray for his victims by touching and fiddling with their private parts under the pretext of preventing them from leading immoral lives.
He told the victims that he could see their future and had received instructions from God to pray for them in that manner.
He also told them that if they refused, bad things would happen to them. On Monday, he was sentenced to 55 years imprisonment after he was found guilty of four counts of rape and seven counts of sexual assault.
The National Prosecuting Authority said the 46-year-old carried out his sick acts from 2012 to 2018.
Despite his not guilty plea and claim that the acts were consensual, the court's Biance Harmse led the testimonies of seven young people who said Masilela would quote Bible scriptures during the attacks.
“He would claim that he needed to pray for their private parts, touch them, or suck them, in order for them to be protected from being with the wrong women. Some victims broke down in court during testimony,” said NPA spokesperson Monica Nyuswa.
She said the court found the acts of the accused to be disgusting and that he claimed to be a Christian, yet he saw no wrongdoing in touching or sucking their penises to prevent them from immoral acts.
A pre-sentence report detailing that the victims were emotionally impacted by their ordeal was presented in court.
“The accused was sentenced to 10 years imprisonment on each of the four counts of rape and five years imprisonment on each of the seven counts of sexual assault,” she said.
“The court ordered that four of the sexual assault sentences run concurrently with the rape charges, relating to the same victims. The accused was also declared unfit to possess a firearm.”