Bishop faces rape charge of a relative

Image: 123RF Stock Image/ lculig

A 49-year-old bishop accused of raping his young relative is seeking bail in the the Libode Magistrate’s Court.

On Thursday, the man limped inside the courtroom. Speaking in a whisper, the man said he would not interfere with witnesses should he be released on bail.

The gallery was filled with church women.

He said he had left his seven church branches in the hands of committee members – who had elected him bishop .

He said he wanted to be released on bail to look after his sick mother.

On the second day of the hearing, prosecutor Fezile Makunga called investigating officer detective Sobabini Mcazulwa who told the court that the complainant feared the older relative.

Mcazulwa said the state opposed bail on the basis the accused knew the witnesses, and there was a likelihood he would interfere with the investigations.

“She [the complainant] told me the man threatened to kill her, and used a gun to threaten her if she told anyone about the offence. She said she would rather poison herself if her father is released out on bail,” said Mcazulwa

Defence attorney Hloniphile Mkhongozeli called former station commander Lieutenant-Colonel Bukelwa Somthunzi who said she did not believe the allegations against her bishop were true.

She said the victim had always been a troublesome girl.

“We sat her down as elderly women in church to enquire what her problem was; she told us she was highly-sexed and cannot stay without a man,” she added.

In closing argument, Mkhongozeli said his client has chronic diseases including suffering cardiac arrests, diabetes and hypertension, and it was not in the interest of justice if he died in a prison cell.

“There is nothing that hinders the applicant as a bail candidate. People submitted a petition that he must be released on bail and 98% of those are women,” he said .

However, Makunga said if the accused was released on bail, he would interfere with the witnesses .

On Thursday, while he was testifying, it emerged the bishop faced another case of indecent assault. He was released on bail of R500. In this matter, he is accused of inappropriately touching the daughter of a close woman friend.

On Friday, magistrate Nwabisa Jumba postponed the case to September 20 for judgment on the bail application while she sent the accused to the medical facility in Wellington Prison.

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