Sex charge pastor is here 'illegally' too
The televangelist was back in the Port Elizabeth Magistrate’s Court yesterday where he was meant to apply for bail on new facts. However, proceedings in Court 22 were cut short due to an urgent application brought before the Port Elizabeth High Court to have the pastor’s work visa renewed.
The pastor now has new legal representation from the firm Mcloughlin Porter conducting his defence.
Hundreds of his supporters gathered outside the court, holding placards, saying “Welcome home, Daddy”. The pastor’s wife also attended court, flanked by her bodyguard.
By afternoon, the pastor was brought before court 27 and the State officially added a charge relating to him being in the country illegally. “When he first applied for bail, the immigration official said that the pastor could have been arrested if they were to meet him on the streets, which meant he was here illegally.
"We made it a point to charge him and that had to be done quickly so the charge could be added to the (other) 22 charges,” said National Prosecuting Authority regional spokesperson, Tsepo Ndwalaza.
During the pastor’s first bail application in May, it emerged that he had been living in the country “illegally” after it was discovered that at least one of his permits was “issued fraudulently”, an immigration officer testified at the time.
Senior immigration officer Ivan Klaasen said that he had discovered that the pastor had six passports, and not four, as the court was previously told. During May 2000, a request for eight permits, including a temporary residence permit, was made - all of which were issued on the same day, Klaasen said at the time. A permit issued by a former Home Affairs official in Port Elizabeth was fraudulent, making the televangelist eligible for deportation.
Meanwhile, at the Port Elizabeth High Court, it was ordered by agreement that the police take necessary steps to transport the televangelist to the Department of Home Affairs’ Visa Verification Centre so that he could lodge an application for the extension of his general work visa.
The pastor’s lawyers, conducting the civil case, brought the application because his general work visa would expire today.
The pastor’s new lawyer, advocate Alwyn Rossouw SC, had earlier indicated that if the pastor’s work visa was not renewed, he would become an illegal immigrant in the country. Late yesterday, the pastor was transported by police to the Visa Verification Centre to get his visa business in order.
The pastor, based in Durban, is alleged to have trafficked more than 30 girls and women from various branches of his church countrywide. He allegedly took them to a house in uMhlanga, in KwaZulu-Natal, where he sexually exploited them. Evidence was that senior church members would recruit “vulnerable” girls between 13 and 15 and lure them into performing sexual acts with the pastor. The pastor denies the claims. - ANA