SELF-proclaimed prophet William Emeka appeared in the Bronkhorstspruit Magistrate’s Court yesterday on charges of sexual assault and rape. James Mahlokwane
THE National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) wants the Department of Home Affairs to verify the immigration status of self-proclaimed prophet, sexual assault and rape accused William Emeka.

The Congolese national was arrested for alleged rape and assault of church members, and the NPA wants the verification to be done before he can apply for bail.

The State yesterday told the Bronkhorstspruit Magistrate’s Court and a gallery packed with angry community members and church members supporting the prophet that Emeka’s passport indicated that he was in South Africa illegally.

The NPA has received documentation indicating that Emeka was given permanent South African residency, but it wanted the government to verify the legitimacy of the documentation because this could influence the court’s bail ruling.

Seven victims and former church members have opened cases of rape and sexual assault against the leader of God Is Love Ministries. His supporters, however, dismissed the charges and said “the man of God” was framed by people who wanted to lead his congregation.

Earlier this month, the community joined EFF members in closing down his main branch in Rethabiseng. They said they did not want Emeka to “continue taking advantage of women in the name of God”.

Female EFF members wore their underwear over their jeans in court to demonstrate their support for the victims and to send a message that women were not sex objects.

Victoria Masombuka said: “I am an EFF member and former member of the church. I feel lucky that I am not one of the victims because I saw the signs early. I used to go to the church when I was pregnant in 2016 when the church was still growing.

“The prophet told me I had demons and wanted to see me during his one-on-one sessions. He gave me a WhatsApp number to contact him, and out of concern I did. He told me my man was doing things that were not right outside our relationship.

“He prayed for me but at some point he tried to get me to fast while I was still pregnant. Eventually some church members called me names because they saw me hanging at a social spot. That made me quit the church. I feel lucky for that.”

Meanwhile, Emeka’s supportive congregants rubbished all the claims against him, insisting that he was a good man who had a lot of people hating him and his big following. They said they did not care if people insulted them because they knew the prophet was innocent.

The magistrate said writing on placards was fine, but the women who wore underwear over their pants were dressed inappropriately.

To this, Bronkhorstspruit EFF regional convener Olivier Mogoru said: “We are not happy that magistrate David Shikwampane thought we were inappropriate for court. We believe women can protest like this, especially during the 16 Days of Activism for No Violence Against Women and Children. Women have fully undressed for President Cyril Ramaphosa to raise such concerns.”

The case was postponed to Wednesday.