Defence advocate Terry Price has been roped in as senior counsel. Price is expected to bring two applications, which include leave to appeal Judge Mandela Makaula’s decision on his refusal to recuse himself.

The other application is leave to appeal Makaula’s earlier decision not to quash the charges against Omotoso and his alleged accomplices Lusanda Sulani and Zukiswa Sitho.

There is a possibility that the trial could be hit by a long delay.

Deputy Minister Mkongi told the media that he was at court to defend young girls and the witnesses in the case.

“If they are not protected no young girl will open a case if they are raped and abused.

“I believe that our witnesses are our precious daughters,” he said.

READ MORE: Omotoso rape trial: ‘We continue to support the man of God’, says church

Meanwhile, protesters who arrived earlier on Thursday morning continued to chant and sing outside the court building.

Metro police had to diffuse at least one tense situation when an altercation unfolded between the two opposing groups, some present to support Omotoso, while others protested against sex crimes and gender-based violence.

The Nigerian pastor faces 63 main charges and 34 alternative counts, which include human trafficking, rape, sexual assault, racketeering and conspiracy in aiding another person to commit sexual assault.

His two alleged henchwomen, Sulani and Sitho, are accused of recruiting girls from all over the country for purposes of sexual exploitation.

READ MORE: Bar Council can’t discipline Omotoso’s lawyer because he’s not an advocate

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.

– African News Agency