JOHANNESBURG – A controversial Durban-based pastor, accused of sexually assaulting more than 30 girls at his church, now faces a further five charges of contravening the Illegal Immigrations Act.
His second bail application has been postponed to 8 September.
The Nigerian-born cleric has been behind bars for more than four months -- accused of sexual assault and human trafficking -- but his followers aren’t giving up. They’ve raised more than R100,000 to pay for his bail if he is to be released.
“The church is prepared to support him because he has gathered people, that he has saved so they are able to serve him, he helps us when we needed him and now it is for us to help him,” said one of his supporters.
“ We are behind Baba, we know we love him, we know the truth, we are behind the man of God," said one church follower. "We know the truth, this is why this is happening, we know there is no truth and we know he is not guilty until proven guilty.”
The pastor's legal team said the 58-year-old televangelist should be released because more than 100 homeless people his church feeds daily are suffering.
His TV ministry has had to be suspended and the church's debts were not being paid.
National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) regional spokesperson Tsepo Ndwalaza. said the group had a right to come forward if it had new evidence. "They have done so, they argued today there was new evidence but when listening... as the NPA, from our perspective, we didn't feel like there was anything new. But it's up to the court to make that ruling,”
The NPA has responded by adding five more charges of contravening the immigrations' act.
He is accused of allegedly entering the country on a fraudulent work permit in 2000, nullifying all his other permits.
His legal team denies this, saying the Eastern Cape High Court gave him permission to go to Home Affairs to apply for an extension on his legally obtained work permit.