Times of Swaziland [Mbabane, Swaziland]
February 27, 2023
By Mbongiseni Ndzimandze
Two teenage girls have narrated how they were allegedly sexually and physically abused by a pastor, who happens be their biological father, for years.
It is alleged that the clergyman started sexually abusing the elder daughter from 2018 to 2023. According to a statement the minors recorded with the police, the pastor reportedly abused the younger daughter from 2016 to 2018. The teenagers were aged 12 and 13 when the pastor allegedly started sexually abusing them. One of the teenage girls is said to have approached her mother and told her that she was contemplating committing suicide as she could not handle the sexual and physical abuse allegedly by her father, who doubles as a pastor. In the statement, one of the teenage girls detailed how the accused would invite her into his bedroom every morning where he would allegedly hug, kiss and touch her indecently, before proceedings to sexually violate her. The accused, according to the minors, described the mandatory morning visits by the complainants into his bedroom as ‘morning greet’. According to one of the minors, he would tell them that he was confirming their virginity.
The complainants are said to have also disclosed that after allegedly raping each of them, the accused would tell them that he loved them and he did not want boys to play with them. The minors related that the accused (pastor) would allegedly order them to undress, kiss them and proceed to sexually abuse them. As per the statements of the minors, the accused took away their virginity in the process as they stated that they were not sexually active before he allegedly started to sexually abuse them. In their statements, the minors further relayed that after sexually abusing them, the accused would assault them with a plastic pipe. The abuse survivors were staying with the accused, siblings and their stepmother.
The pastor is facing three counts under the Sexual Offences and Domestic Violence (SODV) Act, which include among others, sexually violating the minors and physically abusing them. He has since moved a bail application at the High Court, which is, however, being met with resistance from the police and the Crown. In her answering papers, the investigator of the case, Constable Dumsile Msibi, contended that it would not be in the interest of justice to release the accused on bail. “I humbly state that in summary the accused’s request for bail is vigorously opposed since he is a flight risk and there is a likelihood that he may attempt to interfere, influence or intimidate the witnesses of the Crown,” she argued.
She informed the court that the accused was a Zion pastor of a church in the Hhohho Region. The investigator submitted that on February 2, 2023, two women came to the police station together with two minors. She said the two women related that they were girlfriends of the accused, who was also the father of their children. Msibi alleged that the women informed her that they wanted advice concerning removing the children from the accused to a place of safety. “One of the women mentioned that her daughter called and informed her that she was considering committing suicide as she cannot handle the physical and sexual abuse. The minors also disclosed that the accused would sometime order them to strip naked and then assault them,” averred the investigator.
Msibi told the court that after interviewing and recording statements from the two women, they then referred them to the Social Welfare Department, which decided to remove the children from the pastor’s home, to live with their respective mothers. “The accused sent two of his sisters to report and open a missing person file on February 3, 2023. I told them that the children were safe with their mothers, they should not worry,” said Msibi. She told the court that on the same day, the accused pastor decided to come to the police station to enquire about the location of his children as he wanted them back. The investigator said the visit by the man of the cloth was coincidental as they were preparing to go and arrest him.
“I then took the initiative to introduce myself to him, cautioned him in terms of the judges’ rules and informed him that I was arresting him for a crime of rape, as well as physically abuse against his children. He said something and I then arrested and charged him for violation of the Sexual Offences and Domestic Violence Act of 2018,” narrated the investigator. She brought it to the attention of the court that the accused was facing two counts of rape and two of allegedly physically abusing his two daughters. Msibi highlighted to the court that the rape charges were aggravated by the fact that the accused was their biological father and that he did not use any protection when sexually violating the minors.
Msibi further informed the court that in all the counts faced by the accused, there was enough evidence that he committed same and witnesses had already recorded statements with the police and were ready to testify. The bail application is still pending in court.