File picture: SAPS (Twitter)

Mkhuhlu - A Mpumalanga pastor has been arrested over the alleged rape of a minor at his church, police said on Thursday. 

The 28-year-old church leader is accused of raping a 15-year-old girl, a member of his congregation, in August. 

Mpumalanga police spokesperson Brigadier Leonard Hlathi explained how the alleged rape unfolded. 

"According to information at police disposal, the man reportedly communicated with the minor on social media and requested her to come to the church, so that he could pray for her. The girl then went to the church thinking she was going to be prayed for, but the man reportedly tried to rape her. 

"The following week, on the same month, he reportedly called her again, this time, he raped her. It is alleged that he intimidated the young girl not to tell anyone. The news got to the victim’s family and they went to report the matter to the police."

The suspect was then arrested and charged with rape. He appeared in the Mkhuhlu Magistrate’s Court where he was remanded in custody.  

Hlathi confirmed that the case was postponed to October 11, 2018 for a formal bail application.

"Police at Calcutta are making an appeal to the community, particularly to the members of the congregation who may have fallen prey to the suspect, to go to the police station and report because they believe that the minor might not be the first victim to go through this ordeal," he said.