The pastor's attorney Alwyn Griebenow leaves court. FILE PHOTO: ANA

Johannesburg -  A controversial Nigerian televangelist is expected to appear in the Port Elizabeth Magistrate’s Court on Wednesday.

The man, 22 charges related to contravention of the Sexual Offences Act‚ including two counts of rape. He also faces five additional charges of fraud and being in the country illegally. On September, he brought a bail application based on new facts.

The pastor, who is based in Durban, is alleged to have trafficked more than 30 girls and women from various branches of his church countrywide. He allegedly took them to a house in Umhlanga, in KwaZulu-Natal, where he sexually exploited them. 

Following a foiled arrest in Bloemfontein on the Easter weekend, the televangelist was arrested by the Directorate for Priority Crime investigation (the Hawks) on April 20 at the Port Elizabeth airport. He has been in custody ever since.

On August 29, the court heard that an additional charge for allegedly being in South Africa illegally could be added to the charges against the televangelist. He was meant to apply for bail on new facts, however, proceedings in Court 22 were cut short due to an urgent application brought before the Port Elizabeth High Court to have the pastor’s work visa renewed. 

By the afternoon, the pastor was brought before the Port Elizabeth Magistrate’s Court and the State officially added a charge relating to him being in the country illegally. 

Meanwhile, at the Port Elizabeth High Court, it was ordered by agreement that the police take all the necessary steps to transport the televangelist to the Department of Home Affairs’ Visa Verification Centre so that he could lodge an application for the extension of his general work visa.