Worship leader fights for bail

The arresting officers, from left, Lieutenant Colonel Rosh Prem, Hawks Detective Warrant Officer Sivan Naidoo and Captain Jerry Govender Picture: Nqobile Mbonambi

The arresting officers, from left, Lieutenant Colonel Rosh Prem, Hawks Detective Warrant Officer Sivan Naidoo and Captain Jerry Govender Picture: Nqobile Mbonambi

Published Mar 30, 2024


The bail application of the worship leader charged for the rape of a 14-year-old girl – a band member at his church - will continue in the Chatsworth Magistrate’s Court, this week.

The 31-year-old accused, who faces charges of rape and sexual assault, was represented by advocate CJ Van Schalkwyk, instructed by attorney Shireen Soobrathie.

Last Wednesday, he was cross questioned by both Schalkwyk and public prosecutor, Sipho Ntombela, after his affidavit detailing why he should be granted bail, was read to the court by Schalkwyk.

In the affidavit, the worship leader said he intended to defend himself against the allegations which had tainted his reputation as a church praise leader in the Chatsworth community.

“I will go out of my way to clear my way…” the affidavit read.

The accused said in his affidavit, that he had not seen the case docket to comment on the strength of the State’s case, and claimed that he was disadvantaged as he had to depend on newspaper reports and the electronic media to get information.

The affidavit read: “According to newspaper reports made available to me, I allegedly took the complainant to an isolated spot in (the) Silverglen area, having left my place of residence to buy cold drinks, and intimidated her to remove her top.

“Then I allegedly dropped my pants and asked her to perform oral sex on me. This according to the press, all happened within the confines of my vehicle.

“Strangely the press does not report that oral sex in fact took place but simply said that I asked for it to be performed.

“It is further alleged that when we returned home that I then, in the house, forced the complainant and her friend, who is related to my wife, to kiss each other and then asked them to perform oral sex on me.

“No threats are alleged nor is it alleged by the press whether this allegedly took place. All of this, improbably, allegedly took place when my wife was in the residence and in the bathroom.

“An objective investigation will show that our residence is nothing but a one bedroom outbuilding.

“If the allegations took place, which I deny vehemently, it is simply impossible that my wife would not have been aware thereof. These allegations are not only false, but by the very nature thereof highly improbable.”

He claimed that the victim had only been in his presence for a brief period on January 20, the night of the alleged rape.

“... she, on her request, drove with me from my residence where she was with a friend, indeed a relative of my wife, to the garage to buy cooldrink and thereafter returned to the house for a meal,” he said.

According to his account of the details surrounding the night in question, he estimated the trip took about ‘eight minutes only’.

He said it was “simply impossible” that he could have committed any sexual offence during that period of time as he was driving most of the time.

“... it is highly improbable that I would have exhibited inappropriate behaviour in the presence of a relative of my wife and even as is alleged requested her to perform lewd acts on me. It is simply so improbable that it cannot be true,” the affidavit said.

He said he needed to record that although the alleged offence occurred on January 20, it was only reported on March 6, shortly before he was arrested.

“In that interim period, the complainant attended church on numerous occasions where I was present, she attended band practises, she never complained to anyone before that and showed no discomfort to be at band practises.

“Furthermore, she in fact was even at my house after this alleged incident after celebrating another priest’s birthday. She also attended church on the day after the alleged offence, namely January 21, and participated in the band performance in church on the day.

“This is behaviour which is totally incompatible with a person who had been sexually assaulted,” read the affidavit.

“I believe, although I do not know the true motive for the false charge, that it might have been brought about by her suspension from school. I respectfully submit that it makes sense that when she was confronted about the suspension, which was brought about by her smoking at school, that she made up a false story and created this projection to draw attention away from that.

He said he believed there was no evidence that his release could cause shock or outrage with reasonable members of the community and would lead to public disorder.

“My safety will not be jeopardized by my release. There has been no evidence that my life is under threat,” the affidavit read.

The accused was remanded into custody at Westville Prison.

His bail application continues in the Chatsworth Magistrate’s Court, today (Wednesday).