Bishop Bheki Ngcobo pays admission of guilt fine for breaking lockdown rules
Durban – Bishop Bheki Ngcobo paid an admission of guilt fine in the Durban Magistrate's Court today for failing to confine himself to his residence between March 27 and April 30 during the nationwide lockdown.
"During Covid-19 policing operations in preventing gatherings over the Easter period, the police went in search of Ngcobo to obtain a warning statement but could not contact him," the National Prosecuting Authority said.
"His family mentioned that he had gone to the mountains to pray in solitude with nothing more than fruit for sustenance.
"However, his cellphone records and photographic evidence showed that he had not confined himself to where he said he was.
"In light of this evidence presented by acting Regional Court prosecutor Ronitha Singh, Ngcobo opted to acknowledge guilt by paying the admission of guilt fine of R1 500, which is the maximum fine for this offence."
"The National Prosecuting Authority welcomes the responsibility that Bishop Ngcobo has taken for his actions. He is the leader of a large religious movement and many people look up to him for guidance.
"He has accepted that what he has done is wrong and he has done the honourable thing by pleading guilty. In this way, he accepts that whilst everyone has a right to freedom of expression and freedom of movement, the limitation is justifiable within the current Covid-19 pandemic.
"He has affirmed to his congregants that the rule of law must always prevail."
The bishop, who is also a founding leader of a new political party, the African Freedom Revolution, allegedly called on Christians to disobey President Cyril Ramaphosa’s instruction that there should be no gathering of more than 100 people.