KwaZulu-Natal Social Development MEC, Nonhlanhla Khoza, has called for a harsh sentence for the pastor who allegedly raped 13 children at Luvisi village in Nquthu, northern KwaZulu-Natal.
It is alleged that the 56-year-old reverend has been luring young girls and boys, aged between five and 17 years to watch cartoons and later play pornographic videos to watch with them.
The man was allegedly caught when a boy reported the matter to his mother, including the allegation that 11 boys and two girls, suffered at the hands of the man.
The victim’s mother verified the information with other victims before reporting it to the local police.
It is alleged that the reverend started molesting children in 2021, with the last incident on Sunday, 18 September 2022.
Khoza has strongly condemned the rape and abuse of children by a man trusted by the community.
The MEC said it was shocking that children were raped by the reverend over a period of one year and no one in the community was able to stop the horrendous incidents.
“It is very shocking that a man trusted by parents took advantage of children by sexually abusing them. We are very disturbed that a man, who is supposed to be helping parents in raising their children, is the one allegedly involved in such despicable cases in the community,” Khoza said.
She said religious leaders are expected to have high moral standards in building a violence-free society, where children and women are safe.
Khoza called on parents and communities to be extra vigilant and pay more attention to their children.
“We are calling on communities to support victims and their parents to build solid cases and bring the perpetrators to book. Child abuse and rape have no place in our society.
“We call on all men, women and children to stand up and make their voices heard. We cannot keep silent while our children suffer at the hands of people who are supposed to protect them. We need to work together to end these cruel and barbaric acts against children,” Khoza said.
She emphasised that it is every individual’s responsibility to protect children in society.
“As parents, we should always be on the front line in protecting our children and listen to them when engaging us. We should be friends with our children so that they can find it easy to tell us when encountering abuse,” she said.
The MEC commended the police for arresting the man, and a parent who noticed strange behaviour of her son, which led to more abused children being found.
Khoza has dispatched social workers to Luvisi village to provide psycho-social support and other interventions to the victims and families.
She has also instructed social workers to ensure that they help children to be able to give detailed statements on what happened.
The perpetrator was arrested and appeared at Nquthu Magistrate Court on Friday, where he abandoned his bail application. He will reappear in court on 14 October 2022.
Source: South African Government News Agency