The first witness to testify in the rape and human trafficking trial of self-proclaimed pastor, Timothy Omotoso, testified in the Eastern Cape High Court in Port Elizabeth that his co-accused knew about what happened in the Durban mission house
Andisiwe Dike said that she discovered this when the co-accused, Lusanda Sulani and Zukiswa Sitho, made startling confessions that they too had been summoned by Omotoso in the past for sex.
“We were sitting and talking in the prayer room and Accused Two (Sulani) said not everyone had appointments with Accused One (Omotoso).”
Private sexual sessions with Omotoso were called “appointments”, the court heard.
“She mentioned that she herself stopped going to the appointments a long time ago. She said she must have gone twice for the appointments and then stopped.”
Dike said the confession was made during a crusade at the Motherwell Sport Centre in Port Elizabeth where the group stayed in a rented apartment.
“Accused Three (Sitho) would always be in the apartment. She would be around wherever we were and one day, as we were preparing clothes for Omotoso, she made her own confession.
“She said she wore boyfriend jeans deliberately because Omotoso didn’t like torn clothes, so she deliberately wore them so he could send her away. But [on that day] he was being all lovey-dovey with her.”
He told her that he would call her for an “appointment” but she told the girls that she would switch her phone off.
Dike also told the court that both Sulani and Sitho were married to men who were close to Omotoso.
She said that Sulani’s husband was a pastor-in-training at the time and Sitho’s husband was the key protocol officer.
“Both co-accused have had appointments with Omotoso, while Accused Three is now his bodyguard’s wife,” the witness added.
I never consented
On Monday, Dike testified that Omotoso allegedly groomed and molested her.
She told the court that as soon as she arrived at the house, after she was allegedly recruited by a syndicate that lured girls and young women to the house for Omotoso’s sexual pleasure, she was exposed to the Nigerian televangelist’s sexual side.
She said she never gave consent.
“I was not participating in what he was doing and I would limit my time of going to his room after the encounters.”
Dike said she thought that Omotoso knew she was not comfortable and did not consent to what he was doing to her.
“I was scared of him, scared of going against whatever he was doing to me.
“Pastor Chuks told me to always pray and do whatever was done there and be strong. I was afraid I’d be punished because I had offended God’s favoured child.”
Dike said that, when she returned to the mission house after her first visit home, five months after her arrival, things had changed.
She said Omotoso treated her badly because she was not reachable when she was away.
“At some point, [Sulani] sent me an SMS asking how I would know that I’d been forgiven if I was not answering the phone.
“He became very mean to me and when I went to greet him, he no longer patted me or brushed my back, but he would hit me very hard on my back.
“Omotoso became blatant and arrogant at the same time. He said he doesn’t mind if people leave – ‘I will remain with God – I’ve always had God before people met me’.”
Parents in congregation accused of being “wicked”
According to Dike, he also accused some of the parents in the congregation of being “wicked”.
“You do not want your children to come to me. I do not care if you take me to CNN if you want them to come to me. They have got koekoe (vagina), and I’ve got a penis”, Dike claimed he said.
She added that Omotoso had told her that the wisest man in the Bible was Solomon and he had many wives and many concubines.
“Even my wife knows that I carry girls in my bus, and if you check – the finest girls in the church are with me,” he allegedly said.
He would call the pastors’ wives to the front and ask them if they would choose their husbands or him, the court heard.
“The church would be laughing and cheering as if nothing untoward was being said.”
When he was arrested on 20 April 2017, the mood in the mission house because “mournful”. It was as if someone had died.
“Mrs Omotoso brought us money for food and stuff we needed after her husband was arrested, only about three weeks later. She gave the money to the person who oversaw the house.
“This was the first time she had ever come to the mission since I had been there,” Dike testified.
She said Omotoso would use a cellphone to call from prison in Port Elizabeth.
“He encouraged us to keep praying – asked who left, who was still there… then said, ‘All right children of God, keep praying’.”
The end of the chapter
Dike said that she eventually left the mission house and went back to Durban to look for a job and get back on track.
“I got very depressed. Everything of the past months came back and I could not continue with not talking. I spoke to my mother and she helped me speak to the police.
“It was not easy for me coming out of that chapter of my life. It felt like I was coming from a different planet.
“I achieved none of my dreams of bettering my life – instead my purpose worsened, my drinking problem doubled. My plans were backtracked.
“I went to a rehabilitation centre. I was admitted for two days, saw state psychologists and got a SANCA (South African National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence) social worker to help me get back on track.
“The congregation was defensive, I was insulted and many bad things were said to me,” Dike said.