There were dramatic scenes outside the Port Elizabeth Magistrate’s Court on Friday, where the controversial Nigerian televangelist and Senior pastor of the Jesus Dominion International church, Tim Omotoso, who has been languishing at St Albans Prison for more than month now, made an appearance to hear the verdict on his bail application.
Before the court proceedings could begin, everyone was given strict instructions to switch their cell phones off.
The African National Congress (ANC) Women’s League, which has been opposed to bail for Omotoso, came in numbers accompanied by Eastern Cape MEC for Social Development, Nancy Sihlwayi.
Magistrate, Thandeka Mashini, refused the Omotoso bail after various findings that concluded that he was as a flight risk.
The Magistrate said that she considered the fact that Omotoso is in South Africa illegally with no fixed property under his name.
His wife and children are citizens of the United Kingdom, and that he has international branches, which he visits from time to time.
The court heard that he is an illegal immigrant in the country and there is nothing tying him to South Africa.
The Magistrate also said she had considered the public’s view point of the case.
“The public has been crying to these crimes of Human Trafficking, Rape, and sexual assault on young girls and women which are frowned upon by the community.
“I find that the applicant’s personal circumstances are commonplace, and not constitute ordinary. They do not constitute exceptional circumstances which justify his realise on bail,” Magistrate Mashini said.
In the meantime after the refusal of bail, there were dramatic scenes outside the court. Supporters of the pastor, prayed and gave testimonies in a circle, while those against him celebrated and thanked the courts saying justice had been done.
Speaking for the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA), Tsepo Walaza said, “We definitely feel that justice has been done the bail was refused and we believe that we were able to convince the court that indeed the pastor must not get bail and this will also go a long way in terms of getting that feeling from the community that justice is happening and we are looking forward to ensure that this case goes without any problems.
“We actually feel vindicated that indeed we’ve been saying that our case is very strong based on the information and the evidence that we have at the moment but it’s even going to be stronger as everything comes out and we will make sure that we do our job in court.”
Hawks spokesperson, Lieutenant Colonel Robert Netshiunda, said that Omotoso will not be deported until he faces his trial.
“He will have to face his trial here, then if he is found not guilty he will be told to go, if he is found guilty he will serve sentence here until he’s out then we’ll think about deporting him,” Lieutenant Colonel Netshiunda said.
MEC Sihlwayi said that “besides the victory of the department this is a victory to the nation and to the society at large, we do believe that all the issues that has been raised by the police, Hawks are not doing their work well, today there is a turnaround and we really appreciate the democratic constitution of this country”.
She also added that she really believes that the justice system will not fail in this particular case.
Omotoso’s case was postponed to 21 July for further investigations.