SCA dismisses Omotoso's application for judge's recusal

Charismatic Nigerian pastor Timothy Omotoso at the Port Elizabeth High Court.
Charismatic Nigerian pastor Timothy Omotoso at the Port Elizabeth High Court.
Image: FILE

Rape accused pastor Timothy Omotoso's bid to have the judge in charge of his rape trial recuse himself has failed.

Omotoso's legal representatives had filed papers at the Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) to have judge Mandela Makaula recuse himself, claiming he was biased.

The SCA reasoned that there was no prospect of success for their application.  

The SCA dismissed the application, and the trial will therefore proceed on February 4 next year.  The SCA also dismissed the application to have the charges filed against Omotoso dropped. 

Makaula had dismissed the application calling for him to step down at the end of October, prompting the appeal.

In his complaint, Omotoso's advocate Peter Daubermann had accused Makaula of having been prejudiced against his client, while displaying favouritism towards state witness Cheryl Zondi.

Zondi, just one of Omotoso's alleged victims, had earlier testified that she had been  raped and sexually abused when she was 14 years old by the accused after joining the Jesus Dominion International (JDI)  at 13.

Zondi, whose televised testimony against Omotoso drew a wave of commentary from across all sectors, announced the establishment of the Cheryl Zondi Foundation last week. 

The 22 year old said the foundation aimed to support women and children who had been abused in “sacred spaces” such as churches.

The Nigerian televangelist has also been charged with sex trafficking, alongside Lusanda Sulani and Zukiswa Sitho. 

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