Pastor William Emeka has been sentenced to 37 years in jail for raping female members of his congregation. Picture: Oupa Mokoena/African News Agency (ANA)
Pastor William Emeka has been sentenced to 37 years in jail for raping female members of his congregation. Picture: Oupa Mokoena/African News Agency (ANA)

Pastor William Emeka gets 37 years in jail for rape

By Zelda Venter Time of article published Sep 28, 2021

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Pretoria - The pastor at God Is Love Ministries in Bronkhorstspruit, William Emeka, has been sentenced by the Gauteng High Court, Pretoria to 37 years imprisonment on charges which include multiple counts of rape and sexual assault involving five members of his congregation.

The court ordered that the name of the 48-year-old Congolese be added to the National Register for Sexual Offenders. He was also declared unfit to possess a firearm.

Emeka was last week convicted on 19 counts of rape, three counts of sexual assault, being illegally in the country, and possession of or using a falsified permanent residence permit.

The five members of his flock fell victim to his sexual abuse between 2015 and 2018 in and around Bronkhorstspruit. The pastor was arrested in 2018 and remained behind bars after the Bronkhorstspruit Magistrate’s Court earlier denied him bail.

In raping and sexually assaulting the women, Emeka used the same modus operandi, National Prosecuting Authority spokesperson Lumka Mahanjana said.

He would tell them that they had a problem and that he needed to pray for them and bless them in order for him to help them.

Emeka told one of his victims, who was also assisting with baby-sitting his children, that by sleeping with him he was “helping her take things that were inside her out, and until those things came out she would not be able to conceive”.

Emeka smeared his victims with anointed oil before he raped them.

This continued for more than two years and until some women stopped attending the church.

One of Emeka’s victims fell pregnant after the rape, but the woman could not tell who the father of her child was – the pastor or her husband.

Emeka was arrested after his victims reported him to another pastor in the church, who encouraged them to report the incidents to the police.

Emeka has persistently denied that he sexually preyed on some members of his congregation.

State advocate Dorah Ngobeni argued that South Africa was faced with two pandemics – Covid-19 and abuse of women and children.

To deal with the pandemic of abuse against women and children the courts needed to act decisively, she said.

Ngobeni told the court that as a pastor, Emeka’s congregants trusted and confided in him. He used that information to prey on them in order to perform sexual deeds on them, she said.

Meanwhile, the sex trial of controversial Rivers of Living Waters Church leader Bishop Bafana Stephen Zondo is set to start on November 15 in the high court and expected to last until November 26.

Zondo is expected to plead not guilty to 10 charges, the bulk of which are of a sexual nature. It is expected that the alleged victims will testify behind closed doors.

Pretoria News

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