Political heavyweights and a well-known South African musician were among those attending rape-accused Timothy Omotoso’s criminal trial in the Port Elizabeth High Court on Monday.
Minister in the Presidency responsible for Women Bathabile Dlamini, Minister of Communications Nomvula Mokonyane and Deputy Minister of Water and Sanitation Pamela Tshwete attended proceedings, along with ANCWL members to support “rape survivors” in the case.
Protests continued outside the Port Elizabeth High Court, with two opposing groups. Metro police and SAPS continued to monitor the tense situation. At one point, an Omotoso supporter, seen with a group of congregants from Jesus Dominion International (JDI), was forcibly removed from the building.
South African music sensation Simphiwe Dana was also at court to show her support for survivors.
Dana said that she had been following the case on social media and was touched and honoured to be at court in a show of support for victims of sexual abuse.
“Well, as a feminist and an activist, I was really touched by the case and I’ve been commenting a lot about it online, and then the Department of Women invited me to come,” Dana said, when asked about her attendance. “I’m quite honoured to be here today to support the victims.”
In May, the court case was transferred to the Eastern Cape High Court, following accusations that the 58-year-old televangelist allegedly trafficked more than 30 girls and women who were from various branches of his church to a house in Umhlanga, KwaZulu-Natal, where he allegedly sexually exploited them.
One of his alleged victims, 22-year-old Cheryl Zondi, garnered wide public support for her testimony, in which she alleges Omotoso had sexually abused her from the age of 14.