Mkhuhlu - The Calcutta Magistrate's Court in Mkhuhlu, Mpumalanga province on Wednesday granted bail of R10 000 to a local pastor accused of rape.
Pastor Abednigo Mongo, 28, was arrested earlier this month and faces two counts of rape and one of assault for allegedly raping a 15-year-old girl who was a member of his church, the Prophetic Ministry of the Nations in Tshabalala near Hazyview.
His release on bail sparked anger amongst Mkhuhlu community members who clashed with the pastor's supporters, chasing them outside the court building. Police sprayed tear gas to disperse the protesters.
Magistrate Tsakani Usinga imposed strict bail conditions including banning the pastor from residing in the Mkhuhlu area. He will, however, be allowed to attend his church once a week.
“For the sake of the demands of the community in their shock and worry, Mongo must return back to his family home in Welverdiende. He cannot be seen in the areas of Mkhuhlu except for Sundays when he comes for his church sermons,” said the magistrate.
The father of the 15-year-old alleged rape victim, said he was unhappy about the pastor's release, but respected the court's ruling: “There is nothing I can do about what the court has decided and I should not forget that the pastor has rights to apply and get bail because he too is a South African citizen.”
One Mkhuhlu resident said the community would approach the local traditional council to ensure the pastor adheres to his bail conditions: "We feel that this issue has been traumatic to most of our children and this is not the best time as they await to write their exams, because every child is affected by this."
The case was postponed to November 15.
African News Agency (ANA)