File picture: Patrick Semansky/AP Photo.

JOHANNESBURG - The Mankweng Regional Court in Limpopo will on Friday deliver a verdict against Seshego Pastor James Thubakgale, for allegedly raping two teenage girls.

The 57-year-old Thubakgale is facing further charges of fraud, assault and more than 40 charges of rape in a separate case. 

This week, Thubakgale was arrested along with five of his right hand men at the church on multiple charges. 

Spokesman Brigadier Motlafela Mojapelo said police received a barrage of complaints from some of the congregants against Thubakgale.

"Members started investigating these cases that the pastor and his accomplices allegedly assaulted them severely during church services when they failed to make tithe offerings. Others allegedly had to surrender their houses and cars  and were told to stay within the church premises. Other allegations included extortion of hard earned millions of rands from pensioners who had just retired," said Mojapelo.

"The pastor is also suspected of having raped girls as young as 14. More than 40 cases of rape and assault are being investigated. The police are also investigating the allegations that the deaths of certain congregants might have been concealed."

The rape of the two teenage girls dated back to 2012.

"The victims were 14 and 16 at the time. He was out on R2 000 bail when he was arrested for the latest crimes," said Mojapelo.

African News Agency (ANA)