Pastor on child rape charge gets bail
Polokwane - A pastor from the Divine Deliverance Church was granted R2 000 bail in the Seshego Magistrates' Court, near Polokwane, on Tuesday following his arrest for the rape of a 14-year-old girl.
According to reports, he had allegedly lured the child to his home on the pretext of praying for her.
James Thobakgale, of Zone Five, Seshego, was arrested over the weekend for crimes allegedly committed in August and September last year, police reported.
South African Council of Churches general-secretary Mautji Pataki commended the police for arresting Thobakgale and called upon the judicial process to "get deep and find the cause of this condemnable act".
"As the victim goes through counselling and any other form of support, we call upon other pastors and priests to walk alongside her ensuring that the church takes care of the most vulnerable," he said.
"We further call upon church leaders to hold community dialogue sessions where matters such as this could be discussed and discouraged."
Pataki also called upon abuse victims who have remained silent to report their experiences to the police and community leaders.
By doing so, they would "intercept the hand of evil from continuing to destroy innocent lives".
The case was postponed to February 17.