Photos: SA IDOLS twin sisters apologises to victims, women of South Africa for siding Nigerian pastor accused of rape and human trafficking
Twin sisters and former Idols SA contestants, who had backed controversial Nigerian pastor, Evangelist Timothy Omotoso accused of committing a string of crimes, including rape and human trafficking, has turned their backs on him and apologised to the women of South Africa.
Timothy Omotoso‚ the senior pastor of the Jesus Dominion International Church‚ was arrested on April 20, 2017. He is currently facing multiple charges related to contravention of the Sexual Offences Act‚ is also charged with two counts of rape. His alleged victims included girls as young as 13.
In a joint media statement issued last week, Anele and Neliswa Mxakaza said they were made to believe that the pastor is the closest person to God and they can never have a relationship with God but only through him.
"We wish to send our heartfelt and sincere apologies to all the women of South Africa for we appear to be taking [the pastor's] side when he faced rape and sexual charges. And mostly, we wish to apologise to all the victims [the girls who were allegedly raped]. We know them all and we took them as our blood sisters, but when they came out we were made to turn our backs against them and support the [accused]."
The twins wrote that they were threatened into supporting the pastor and alleged that they were even asked to do newspaper interviews to protect him.
"We have been in this ministry for four years and we have lived in his house in Umhlanga for about a year. It was the worst experience ever … we were actually pushed to please the man. We were told that God will punish us if we ever say anything against him.
"The elders of the church played a part in making us run away/escape from our homes to stay in [his] house, to serve in his ministry as kids. We were made to believe that [he] is the closest person to God and we can never have a relationship with God but only through him," they alleged.
"The rape allegations were not new to us when he was arrested. It is something that we knew long before he got arrested. The girls would talk immediately after it happened in the house and, when one was called to the upper room, we knew what was going to happen to them. We were made to keep quiet and never say anything. We have hurt our parents by allowing a Nigerian man to rule and ruin our lives," the twins said.
Meanwhile, pastor Omotoso and one of his co accused‚ Zukiswa Sitho‚ appeared in the Port Elizabeth Magistrate's Court last Monday.
Their newly appointed attorney‚ Peter Daubermann‚ told the court he had made new submissions to the Directorate of Public Prosecutions related to the charges all three are facing. The matter was postponed to March 8 for a decision to be made on what the next step would be.
Sitho and the second co-accused Lusanda Solani were arrested by members of the Hawks trafficking in persons unit for allegedly recruiting girls for controversial pastor Omotoso.
It is alleged that the suspects recruited girls‚ all over the country‚ and monitored their movements in the houses where they were being kept.
Solani did not appear in court with them. The trio’s newly appointed attorney‚ Daubermann‚ submitted a medical certificate to the court outlining that Solani was not fit to travel after recently giving birth and asked Magistrate Thandeka Mashiyi to order a stay of execution for a warrant of arrest.
Mashiyi issued the warrant of arrest and told Daubermann to ensure Solani appeared in court on February 13‚ otherwise she would forfeit her bail to the state and would be arrested.
Read the full statement issued by the twins in January 29 January, 2018:
SA IDOLS TWINS, SPEAKING OUT ABOUT THE NIGERIAN PASTOR REV TIM OMOTOSO
We would like to share our hearts with the whole nation regarding our journey in Timothy Omotoso Ministry.
Firstly we wish to send our heartfelt and sincere apologies to all the woman of South African for we appeared to be taking Timothy Omotoso’s side when he faced rape and sexual harassment charges and mostly we wish to apologize to all the victims (all the girls that were raped) we know them all and we took them as our blood sisters, but when they came out we were made to turn our backs against them and support Tim Omotoso. We were even asked to go do newspaper interviews to protect Omotoso.
We wish to also apologize to all the people that love and support us and our talent…
We have been in this Ministry for four years and we have lived in his house in Umhlanga for about a year, it was the worst experience ever… we were actually pushed to please the man, we were told that God will punish us if we ever say anything against Omotoso. We lived a life full of threats and Fear.
The elders of the church played a part in making us run away/escape from our homes to stay in Omotoso’s house, serve in his ministry as kids we were made to believe that Omotoso is the closest person to God and we can never have a relationship with God but only through Omotoso.
We have hurt our parents by allowing a Nigerian man to rule and rein over our lives, however many things happened in spirit than on the flesh. We have been blinded and our spirits were controlled or locked up somewhere by this Man and his Spirits because we could see all the wrongs but never bold to speak out, we wanted to scream but had no voices. Omotoso coursed divisions in many families and ruined many peoples lives, his church have the highest unemployment rate and young people who are not studying.
We were not allowed to go to any other church, we were not allowed to listen to any other Pastor and we were not allowed to sing anywhere else besides in his church, we were not allowed to study, but his kids were studying, we were not allowed to see/visit our families.
The rape allegations were not new to us when Omotoso was arrested, it is something that we knew long before he got arrested. The girls would talk immediately after it happened in the house and when one was called to the upper room we knew what was going to happen to them, we were made to keep quiet and never say anything. We escaped and ran away at some point because we knew what was happening. Even when we had left the church we were still not free to talk, we were afraid that something bad will happen to us or our families.
We are happy to announce that we are finally free. We want to thank God Almighty for saving us and delivering us from Omotosos hand. It is not for us to judge.
We are happy to have our lives back and without a shadow of doubt, we are ready to excel in life and spread the word and power of God through our music.