Omotoso's church in Port Elizabeth shuts its doors
Jesus Dominion International shut its doors on Sunday after protesters from various political organisations and civil society gathered outside the Govan Mbeki church in Port Elizabeth‚ demanding it be closed.
The move by the church comes as the trial of its charismatic leader‚ pastor Timothy Omotoso‚ who is facing a litany of charges against him ranging from human trafficking to sexual assault and rape‚ is due to resume on Monday.
On Sunday‚ members from the EFF and ANC demanded that congregants exit the church so it could be shut down indefinitely‚ until the case against Omotoso is concluded.
Protesters were prevented from entering the church by metro police and SAPS officials.
Tempers flared between the protesters and congregants when the police refused to allow people inside the church while the congregants‚ at first‚ refused to close the church.
ANC Youth League regional secretary Luyolo Nqakula said they were happy and “chuffed” with themselves for having achieved their objective‚ which was to shut down the church.
“We were very clear when we came in the morning. We engaged with the church leadership and they were very arrogant saying the church was not going to shut down.
“When we got here we posed a few questions to the officials from SAPS and the metro police and asked them what the zoning of the building was. Does the church have a certificate and when was the last time an inspection was done on the premises?
“They responded and told us the zoning was for businesses and the church does not have a certificate and there are issues around the health and safety of the congregants. We told them to enact the law‚” Nqakula said.
Members from the church ranging from as young as seven years to elderly women and men made their way out of the church after the group‚ who call themselves the Nelson Mandela Bay Citizens in Unity‚ moved away from the door.
Protesters could be heard screaming “fire” and “you should be ashamed of yourselves for supporting a rapist” as the congregants made their way out.
The blue shutter doors at Jesus Dominion International were eventually closed - much to the jubilation of the protesters.