OVERVIEW: 'It's about justice, leave everything to us' - Judge tells Zondi ahead of postponement in Omotoso trial

2018-10-17 10:07

Cheryl Zondi, the first witness in trial of Nigerian pastor Timothy Omotoso, takes the stand for the third day in the Eastern Cape High Court in Port Elizabeth. WARNING: Some testimony might have content of a sexual nature.


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Last Updated at 09:41
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WATCH: Special Assignment - Breaking The Silence, 17 April 2017

Special Assignment focuses on a pastor who is alleged to have sexually abused young women in his church, some as young as 14 years old. The Hawks are searching for Prophet Timothy Omotoso, the founder of the Jesus Dominion International Church. The crimes are alleged to have been committed across a number of provinces. Omotoso is alleged to have transported the young women from their homes to his plush house in Umhlanga where he allegedly slept with them.

17 Oct 13:09

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17 Oct 13:01
Court postponed until Monday, October 22.

17 Oct 12:58
"You are not doing this for yourself, but on behalf of justice,"  Judge Makaula.

17 Oct 12:56

Judge wishes Zondi goodluck on behalf of the court ahead of her exams.

"That is your future, you need to concerntrate on your future, and forget about what is happening here," he says.

17 Oct 12:56
Judge Mandela Makaula explains process of being under oath to Zondi, as trial will continue next week.

17 Oct 12:46
Daubermann concludes he has no further questions.

17 Oct 12:45

Daubermann: Why did you decide to divulge details about in what happened in public?

Zondi: I needed to tell people that this happened to me, and I survived. He took my power, my dignity, my strength.

17 Oct 12:43

Daubermann: When did you approach the police for the first time.

Zondi: I didn't approach them, they came up to me.

17 Oct 12:42

17 Oct 12:41
"The truth is the truth; nothing changed the truth," - says Zondi, upon answering Daubermann's question concerning her feature on Special Assignment. 

17 Oct 12:37

17 Oct 12:37
Zondi says she never trusted police officers, they would take off their jackets in church and let him (Omotoso) walk over it. 

17 Oct 12:35

17 Oct 12:34
Therapist identified as Mandy Arnot.

17 Oct 12:34

Daubermann: Did your mother ask you what was going on?

Zondi: I never had to tell my mom anything, she told me what she thought was happened.

Daubermann: What was that?

Zondi: She told me that she thinks this man did something to me. She consulted with my brother, and they decided to send me to therapy.

17 Oct 12:33

Daubermann: Who was the first person you gave details of the assault to?

Zondi: The therapist, after my family saw me acting out

Daubermann: Did your mother see you were acting strangely?

Zondi: Yes, I had developed coping mechanisms.

17 Oct 12:28
Zondi: When you're assaulted, it is accompanied by a lot of feelings of shame. That is why I didn't tell her (refers to her grandmother). 

17 Oct 12:26

17 Oct 12:26

Daubermann: Did your mother join the church?

Zondi: Yes, after much convincing from me.

17 Oct 12:25

Daubermann: Why did you not mention the 30 day workshop before?

Zondi: He did not make sexual advances then.

17 Oct 12:25

Daubermann: Did you attend a 30 day music workshop in 2010 in Durban.

Zondi: Yes

Daubermann: Where did you stay?

Zondi: In Umlazi - at different houses and sometimes at the church.

17 Oct 12:18

Daubermann: Who was the first person you told?

Zondi: I can't remember if she was the first person, but I do remember speaking to Malusha about it.

Daubermann: What did you tell her?

Zondi: I can't remember my exact words, but I told her I went back to the church and left again, because Timothy was still abusing me. She said she knew exactly what I was talking about.

Daubermann: Did you tell any family member about what happened to you?

Zondi: My family concluded that I needed therapy, they didn't know why.

17 Oct 12:15
Zondi says Lusanda groomed and adviced her to please this man. She assisted Fezeka.

17 Oct 12:07

17 Oct 12:06

Daubermann: Did she deceieve you in any way or misrepresent herself?

Zondi: I was under the impression that I was going home to PE, so she may have.

17 Oct 12:05

Daubermann: Did she threaten you in any way? Intimidate you?

Zondi: She didn't threaten me. She warned me against not pleasing me. 

17 Oct 12:01

Daubermann: You're not suggesting that she was telling you to allow him to abuse you?

Zondi: That's not what I'm suggesting, it's what I'm saying. It was referred to as an appointment.

17 Oct 12:00

Daubermann: So she (accused no.2) was also under his spell?

Zondi: Maybe she should answer that for herself.

17 Oct 11:58

Zondi says she was warned against not pleasing Omotoso.

Daubermann: When did Lusanda (referred to as accused number 2)come into the picture?

Zondi: I have known her since I joined the church. She organised travel, grocery lists, she ironed this man's clothing.

Zondi says accused number 2 would tell her to please Omotoso and told her: "when you go up there, don't waste time, because at the end of the day, you're doing this for your tomorrow."

17 Oct 11:50
Daubermann: You're not telling me the truth

17 Oct 11:48

17 Oct 11:47

Daubermann questions Zondi on Omotoso's trip to America, why she did not escape during that "opportunity to escape".

Zondi: I did not have money

Daubermann: If only you had money, did it occur to you that this is an ideal opportunity to escape?

Zondi: I didn't think of it at that time.

17 Oct 11:42

Daubermann: Lusanda (Solani) ran affairs at the house?

Zondi: Correct

Daubermann: Was she living there?

Zondi: Correct, with her kids.

Lusanda Solani, 36, one of the co-accused, allegedly recruited girls. Solani was almost eight months pregnant when she was arrested.

17 Oct 11:37
Zondi to Daubermann: Sir,  you clearly don't understand the effect of trauma on the person, that is clear to me.

17 Oct 11:34

Daubermann: Did you want to leave?

Zondi: Yes, I did. I didn't want to go to Durban

Daubermann: So why didn't you just walk out of the house?

Zondi: I didn't have the means. This man had a psychological hold on me.

17 Oct 11:31

Daubermann: Why didn't you escape before that?

Zondi: I needed to come up with a plan, I needed to think about how I was going to go about doing it.

I needed money.

17 Oct 11:28

17 Oct 11:28
Ahead of resuming the cross-examiation, Judge Makaula tells Zondi he knows it is not easy for her and if she needs time she must say so. He adds that the end is in sight for her.

17 Oct 11:26
Court resumes.

17 Oct 11:25

17 Oct 11:15

READ: Brave women like Cheryl Zondi and Dr Christine Blasey Ford have become new champions for sexual assault victims

When the #MeToo movement is seemingly centred around mainly white, American women, the reality of our own societies and the reality of why women here cannot openly speak up about what's been done to their bodies and psyches makes the beacon of hope look very dim when it reaches our shores. 

This is why Cheryl Zondi testifying against Timothy Omotoso is indescribably significant to South African women. 

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