Cheryl Zondi back in court to face her ‘tormentor’ pastor Omotoso

Cheryl Zondi, the first witness in the rape case of Nigerian televangelist Timothy Omotoso, is expected to return to the stand in the high court in Gqeberha on Tuesday.

Zondi last testified in 2018, months before then-presiding judge Mandela Makaula recused himself in March 2019.

Makaula stood down after it was revealed that Zondi had stayed at a guesthouse in which his wife had business interests.

Zondi, who announced earlier in 2023 that she is busy with the production of her book, told the court at the time that she was first sexually assaulted by Omotoso when she was 14.

According to Zondi, the pastor raped her between 2010 and 2015.

She said she had to conceal her emotions because she was afraid of the pastor, who posed as the most powerful man on earth.

“Omotoso had more than a reason to call me over and say we were going to rehearse, especially after the establishment of our music group Grace Galaxy Girl Band,” said Zondi.

Zondi captured the hearts of South Africans who praised her bravery and strength for not buckling under pressure during intense cross-examination.

At one point, defence advocate Peter Daubermann remarked that she was making his job difficult, to which she responded by saying she was not in court to make his job easy.

South Africans, who were following the trial in huge numbers, quickly flocked to her blog in which she detailed the trauma of being repeatedly abused.

Omotoso is the founder of Jesus Dominion International Church which had major branches in South Africa, Nigeria and Israel, with Durban being the headquarters in the country.

The televangelist and his co-accused, Lusanda Sulani and Zukiswa Sitho, are in the dock on 62 charges including racketeering, human trafficking, rape, and sexual assault.

The trial resumed last week with the 10th witness taking the stand after a failed attempt by the defence to have it dismissed.

This after the Supreme Court of Appeal turned down the defence’s application for a special entry in terms of section 317 of the Criminal Procedure Act, where it pointed to irregularities and illegalities in the proceedings.



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