Large crowd to support victim in rape case against pastor
The rape case against a pastor from a church in Buffalo City’s ward 28 has been postponed to March 26 for further investigation and for the state to obtain the victim’s statements and DNA results.
Prosecutor Sandiswa Maqungo told the East London magistrate’s court last week that all the statements were still outstanding.
Though he out is on bail, accused Lusanda Nqezana was whisked into the holding cells after appearing in court, seemingly to avoid contact with the large crowd of people there to support the victim.
It is the state’s case that Nqezana raped the 18-year-old victim while she and the accused were on a camp outing organised by the church on December 11.
Nqezana’s lawyer, Bongani Macingwane, when asked by DispatchLIVE if his client had been whisked to the holding cells for his own safety due to the large crowd in the public gallery, said: “I don’t think that is the case because there was no indication that the people were baying for his blood.
“Maybe he was running away from you and your cameras.”
Nqezana was the victim’s pastor.
He was arrested on December 17.
When Nqezana appeared in court on Friday, the gallery was full with members of the ANC Women’s League in ward 28, and friends and family members of the victim..
Outside the court, about 100 people, supporting the victim, held placards and sang songs, demanding a speedy trial.
Ward 28 ANCWL branch secretary, Nozizwe Otola, was delighted with the turnout.
She said the prosecution had told them the case was being prioritised.
“Other girls are now scared to come to church because they feel unprotected.
“We believe there are more victims but they are scared to come forward because they feel they will be harassed,” said Otola.
Shiella Jabavu, the league’s provincial task team member, wept as she was being interviewed by the Dispatch.
“When found guilty he must get the harshest sentence and rot in jail.
“People like him don’t deserve to live with other people,” said Jabavu.
The victim’s father, who cannot be named to protect the identity of his daughter, thanked the public for the “massive support” his daughter was “receiving from people from all walks of life”.
“We supported her from the word go,” he said.
“We respect the law and we understand that anyone is innocent until proven otherwise and we will monitor this case closely.
“My child must be strong because this is her last year at high school.”