The High Court of South Africa in Polokwane has found 58-year-old pastor, James Devine Thubakgale guilty of three counts of rape, assault common and calling a person a witch…

According to the National Prosecuting Authority, Pastor Thubakgale of Devine Deliverance Church based at Seshego, presented himself to his congregants as a powerful man of God, who could heal the sick, cast away evil and was sent to this world to save them. He demanded to be called a judge because he was going to be a judge with God at the end of the world.

He would demand that congregants bring all their money to the church including their retirement savings.

The congregants in his church respected obeyed and took orders from him as they believed that he was part of the holy trinity and was closest to God.

According to a report from the NPA, Thubakgale congregants would do anything he asked

He would target young girls who were under 16 years of age, who had shown committed to the word of God. He promised them marriage, telling them that it was God himself who wanted them to be married.

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He would then rape the girls at a lodge, in his motor vehicles and also in their rooms which he rented for them.

He threatened them that if they refused to either marry or have sex with him, God would punish them for disobedience and there would be death and sickness in their families.

At all times the victims would obey his rules and when they defied him, he would scold them and call them witches who were possessed by evil spirits. He assaulted his victims in full view of other fellow congregants.

The victims believed that the pastor was telling them the truth and they would oblige as they were promised that if they obeyed his orders, they would see heaven.

Seven year reign of terror

Thubakgale continued with his reign of terror without the victims reporting the incidents to the authorities in fear of sickness and death from 2010 until 2017.

Judge Muller found Thubakgale guilty.

Thubakgale was sentenced on 30 September 2020 by the Mankweng Regional Court for another case, to two life terms for two counts of rape of minor girls for the incidents that took place in 2011 and 2012.

The case was postponed to 24 March 2021 for sentencing.


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