All the way up here to be closer to Jesus

Penwell Dlamini

Penwell Dlamini

Two men arrested for trespassing after ascending a 50-metre Telkom tower "to pray closer to Jesus" on Christmas Day landed in court yesterday.

But after they were discharged by the Lenasia magistrate's court they walked out of the holding cell singing God's praises and chanting: "He has opened the doors for us."

Earlier prosecutor Tebogo Gosebo said: "The statements in the dockets do not explain in detail what the men did, so I declined the case."

But Gosebo warned that the two, Eugene Mondlana and Lucky Baloyi, both aged 28, were likely to appear again in the same court today.

On Christmas Day the pair, from a Lawley informal settlement, climbed the 50-metre Telkom radio tower mast in Lenasia saying they wanted to pray closer to Jesus.

Superintendent Lesiba Tlolane said it was unclear when the men climbed the tower but a bystander called the police when he saw them.

"We arrived at 8am and found the two standing at the top of the tower," Tlolane said.

He said the two told the police that Jesus had ordered them to pray on the tower because "there could be no interruption up there".

Police were unable to determine how the men gained access to the premises since the place is highly secured.

"The men told us that God opened the gates for them and they walked through," Tlolane said.

He said the men were carrying Bibles and other religious books.

"They refused to come down," he said.

After six hours of persuasion by three police hostage negotiators the men were finally helped down.

"Both were sober and one of them said he had been praying and fasting in the mountain for three days," Tlolane said.

After a medical examination the men were arrested and charged.

They reportedly ate while in custody.