Speaking at a press conference in Johannesburg on the way forward for her after the judge in the rape trial – she testified in – recused himself, Zondi said she will re-testify against Nigerian pastor Timothy Omotoso, adding that she was not willing to give up.
Judge Mandela Makaula officially recused himself on Friday because his wife owned a guesthouse where State witnesses in the case stayed.
“I don’t care how many times I have to tell the truth or go through the same process over and over again – I will keep doing it, I will not give up and that is that,” said Zondi.
“I have a responsibility to live up to the confidence our people have in me and to keep going.”
Zondi said it was extremely difficult and agonising for her before and she was expecting the process to be even worse and more amplified this time.
“I want everyone looking up to me to see that it’s possible to go through this and move on, be happy, be unapologetic, wear what they want, go where they want, be sexual if they want and just live how they want,” said Zondi.
“I’ve been through and worse, and they are watching and waiting to see if I’m going to give up and I want them to know that I’m not. Giving up is not an option. Yes, I’m only human but that’s all I need to be.”
She said the National Prosecuting Authority has not yet reached out to her to officially tell her how this recusal was going to affect her.
“But I do read the news and the bottom line is that I’m likely going to have to start testifying all over again from scratch, as if nothing happened last year – as if I didn’t have to write special exams because the trauma made me dyslexic for a few months (I couldn’t read),” she said.
Zondi was accompanied by the chairwoman of the Commission for the Promotion and Protection of the Rights of Cultural, Religious and Linguistic Communities (CLR) Thoko Mkhwanazi-Xaluva who said: “We should be proud of her as a country for coming out to tell her story”.
Omotoso faces 63 main charges and 34 alternative counts, including human trafficking, rape, sexual assault, racketeering and conspiracy in aiding another person to commit sexual assault. His two co-accused, Lusanda Sulani and Zukiswa Sitho, are accused of recruiting girls from all over the country for purposes of sexual exploitation.
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.
The pastor was arrested on April 20, 2017, by the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation, known as the Hawks, at the Port Elizabeth Airport. The pastor has been denied bail on two occasions, as he was deemed a flight risk. The women were arrested in November 2017 and are out on bail of R2,000.
The case was postponed to July 30, in the Port Elizabeth High Court.
– African News Agency