Police hunt for preacher
Pastor allegedly raped the 6-year-old daughter of one of his congregants
EASTERN Cape police are searching for a Duncan Village pastor who allegedly raped the 6-year-old daughter of one of his congregants.
The pastor, who police believe is in his mid-40s, has been on the run following last Wednesday's alleged rape incident.
The child's family are members of the New Holy Zion Church, the church that the pastor presides over.
The 25-year-old mother of the victim, a domestic worker, said she had gone in search of work when the rape occurred.
She said the Grade 1 pupil had received counselling and medication from doctors at Cecilia Makiwane Hospital.
According to the child's grandmother, the young girl had skipped school that morning and had gone out to play in the neighbourhood.
"The reverend saw the child sitting on the street, and he (allegedly) grabbed her by the hand and led her into his home," the 64-year- old woman said.
A neighbour who had been doing her laundry at the informal settlement's street tap had allegedly seen the pastor disappear into his home with the young child.
"After moments without seeing the child return, our neighbour, who was washing her clothes in the street, went into the pastor's home to inquire."
The neighbour was still walking towards the pastor's house when she allegedly spotted the little girl coming out of the his (pastor's) yard crying.
Her gran said: "I was preparing food for her when a group of residents came with my grandchild to tell me that the reverend had raped her."
Community members searched for the preacher, but he had already fled.
"We did not want to beat him up or anything. We respect him and we just wanted him to explain himself," said the elderly women.
The family said although they were disappointed by the reverend pastor, they would not stop going to his church.
"We have to keep on praying, we cannot live without God's blessings," said the grandmother.
Major Ernest Sigobe said a case of rape was opened on Wednesday.
The docket was transferred to the family violence, child protection and sexual offences unit in East London.
"Police have since launched a manhunt against the reverend because he is evading the law," Sigobe said.
Sigobe said police expected to make an arrest soon as the suspect was known to them and the community members.
Church services were not held yesterday.