Crowd wants ‘bishop’ jailed

2010-12-02 00:00

A SELF-PROCLAIMED Pietermaritzburg bishop, who is facing a charge of raping his lover’s daughter, might have his bail revoked for going near the 15-year-old victim.

The bishop, whose name and church is known to The Witness but cannot be identified, was released on R2 000 bail in July. The conditions were that he should not go to France township where the victim lives and that he must not make contact with her.

However, to the surprise of the police, the girl’s neighbours, and Treatment Action Campaign (TAC) members, the so-called bishop has been seen at the house of his lover and the girl every morning since he was released.

He has also been seen basking in the sun at the house.

As a result, police removed the teenager from her home and took her to a place of safety in October.

Police spokesperson Warrant Officer Joey Jeevan said police received a report that the church leader is often seen leaving the girl’s home in the mornings.

“Right now we are preparing a court application to revoke the accused’s bail,” said Jeevan.

A large crowd led by local members of the TAC declared that the girl deserves to be at her home and demanded that the bishop be sent back to prison until the case is completed.

They toyi-toyied in front of the victim’s house yesterday, chanting and calling loudly for the accused to be arrested and lambasting the victim’s mother for protecting her lover.

The TAC led the march as part of the 16 Days of Activism against abuse of women and children, and to mark World Aids Day.

The girl’s mother, who was standing outside her one-room house with tears in her eyes, shouted at the marchers and dared them to enter her house.

“Let them come. I will die with one of them,” she said.

As the crowd, shouting insults, advanced close to the house, marshals of the march battled to control the situation.

The TAC was prevented from picketing in front of the Pietermaritzburg Magistrate’s Court where the bishop appeared last Friday.

Said Promise Makhanya, a local TAC community health advocate co-ordinator, “This man was told never to come anywhere near the child and that he should go and live in Mpumuza [which is about 10 kilometres away]. But he is always seen in France and in that house.”

Members of the TAC said that rape is common in France and neighbouring Unit 14 in Imbali.

The rape case was postponed until March 4 next year.

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