Controversial Nigerian pastor Tim Omotoso of the Jesus Dominion International Church in Durban, is being sought by the Hawks for allegedly abusing young girls at his Umhlanga house.
According to an expose by SABC 3’s Special Assignment on Monday, he allegedly handpicked the girls and instructed them to live in his house in Umhlanga where they were forced to have unprotected sex with him.
Hawk’s spokesperson, Lt-Col Robert Netshiunda, said Omotoso had gone to ground and all three cellphones linked to him had been deactivated.
“We are investigating the matter and we will only lay charges after getting him,” Netshiunda said.
Omotoso allegedly molested more than 30 young girls on the pretext of rescuing them from drugs.
Some of the girls had reportedly dropped out of the University of KwaZulu-Natal while others began travelling while singing for the pastor’s group, known as Simply Christolite.
Bishop Vusi Dube of the National Interfaith Council of SA said he had always had reservations about the way Omotoso conducted himself.
Dube claimed he had to personally intervene after Omotoso took 2014 Idols contestants, the Mxakaza twins, Anele and Aneliswa, to his Umhlanga house after a plea from their mother Gloria.
He said he had to abandon his bid to return them home after Gloria started receiving death threats from members of Omotoso’s church.
“We could not get there as he was heavily protected by bodyguards and some SAPS members who attend his church. The twins then dumped him and returned home after a short stint in the Umhlanga house,” Dube said.
Sipho Mnyakeni, the manager who later worked with the twins after breaking away from Omotoso, said: “I had no reason to suspect anything, as they had great respect for that pastor and had only positive things to say about him.”
Dube said: “I challenge all honest Nigerian pastors to condemn this. If they don’t, there will be assumptions that they have no problem with this behaviour.”
SIHLE MAVUSO and Zodidi Mhlana