The trial of controversial pastor Timothy Omotoso has hit another snag.
It was announced in the Eastern Cape High Court in Port Elizabeth on Monday that prosecutor Nceba Ntelwa was no longer available to continue with the case against Omotoso and his two co-accused, Lusanda Sulani and Zukiswa Sitho.
Prosecutor Marius Stander, who is not new to high-profile cases, will take the lead in the matter alongside Ishmet Cerfontein, who had been working with Ntelwa.
One of Stander's successes was the conviction of Christopher Panayiotou and his co-accused for the murder of his wife, Jade.
NPA Eastern Cape regional communications manager Luxolo Tyali said Ntelwa will return to East London.
"Before the Omotoso case, Ntelwa was working on the prosecution of organised crime based in East London. There are urgent matters that need his attention in that division, where he normally works," said Tyali.
Omotoso, Sulani and Sitho face 97 charges, including rape, human trafficking and racketeering, for allegedly targeting and recruiting young girls for sexual exploitation.
It is alleged that the girls were moved from their homes to two mission houses in KwaZulu-Natal, where they were made to engage in sexual acts with Omotoso.
The case had to start all over again following the recusal of Judge Mandela Makaula. There have also been a litany of appeals to higher courts, the last being the Constitutional Court.
The matter was postponed to 14 April.