A 51-year-old pastor from Limpopo has been ordered to remain behind bars after being accused of raping a 12-year-old congregant a week ago.
According to police spokesman Col Moatshe Ngoepe, the pastor - from Thabazimbi west of Bela-Bela - was arrested on June 17. He appeared in the Bela-Bela magistrate's court on Monday.
Ngoepe said the man - who cannot be named because he has not yet pleaded - was denied bail. He is due to appear again on Thursday.
"The arrest of the suspect follows an incident where he allegedly arrived at the victim's house at about 4.30pm for a prayer session, and then told the victim's mother that the girl was sick.
"He further claimed the girl should go with him to the nearest river so that she can receive her healing," said Ngoepe.
However, when the pastor didn't return with the pre-teen, her mother started "panicking".
"She informed the father, who then followed them [to the river]. He was surprised to see his child half-naked, running and screaming for help. The frightened girl then alleged the pastor raped her," said Ngoepe.
A rape case was immediately opened and the suspect was detained.