A civil society group calling itself Nelson Mandela Bay Citizens Unity held a briefing in Port Elizabeth on Friday calling for the total shutdown of televangelist Pastor Tim Omotoso’s church, Jesus Dominion International, this coming Sunday.
The church, which has branches across South Africa, is currently still up and running despite the current trial against its leader, who stands accused of 63 main charges and 34 alternative counts which include human trafficking, rape, sexual assault, racketeering, and conspiracy in aiding another person to commit sexual assault.
The civil society group includes members of ANC Youth League (ANCYL), ANC Women’s League (ANCWL), and Economic Freedom Fighters as well as representatives of unions the South African Federation of Trade Unions (SAFTU) and the South African Students’ Congress (SASCO).
According to a statement issued by the group informing media of the press briefing, the group is “disgruntled” due to the alleged actions of Omotoso and are demanding that the church be shut down.
The group will be protesting outside the Port Elizabeth branch of the church, demanding for its closure, but ANCYL’s Luyolo Nqakula says the group is issuing a “nationwide clarion call” in the hope that other branches across South Africa will also be protested on Sunday.
“This thing is but a manifestation of how sick our society is and how sick some churches are,” Nqakula says.
He says the problem does not just affect Christianity but all religions and forms of spirituality.
The civil society group, says Nqakula, would like to “end the taboo around young women speaking out”.
The scourge of women being targeted by religious and spiritual leaders must be “confronted with ruthlessness and anger” and perpetrators must be “surgically removed” from society, Nqakula added.