Picture: Raahil Sain/African News Agency (ANA)

Johannesburg - The ANC Women’s League (ANCWL) has condemned the women who wore ANCWL regalia in support of Pastor Timothy Omotoso who is facing multiple charges of human trafficking and sexual assault.

The league said in a statement that it supports Cheryl Zondi, who has been testifying at Omotoso’s trial, and all other victims of sexual violence.
 
“We respect people’s freedom of religion and rights to affiliate in any beliefs, but such rights should be exercised by individuals as individuals – not in our colours, not in our regalia and not in our name. We call on our members and supporters to support the victims during the Omotoso trial. We stand with the victims. We believe Cheryl Zondi and all other victims,” said the ANCWL.

The trial is being heard at the Port Elizabeth High Court and since it commenced supporters of Omotoso have protested outside the court in support of the televangelist.

The ANCWL's comments follow video footage that surfaced which showed women dressed in ANCWL regalia dancing outside the court in support on Omotoso. The league faced backlash on social media regarding the appearance of its members at the court.

The league distanced itself from the women and said their appearance at the court went against a resolution that was taken at its conference that the league would support all victims of violence and sexual abuse.

“The ANCWL is dismayed by the women who undermine the resolution of a conference and misrepresent the organisation by wearing ANCWL regalia at the Omotoso trial in support of the accused. The ANCWL distances itself from the women wearing ANC regalia and confirms that the league was not supporting the accused at the Port Elizabeth High Court today,” said the league.

The league said members could be charged for contravening a resolution and it warned members to stay clear from supporting Omotoso.

“As the ANCWL we warn all our members and supporters that supporting perpetrators, whilst purporting to represent the women’s league, is considered a serious offence. Any member of the ANCWL found to misrepresent the ANCWL and undermining the position of the organization on gender-based violence will be charged,” said the league.

* Read more on the #OmotosoTrial here.