One of the alleged victims of televangelist Timothy Omotoso was cross-examined by his lawyer in his trial in the Eastern Cape High Court in Port Elizabeth on Wednesday.
Omotoso and his two co-accused, Lusanda Sulani and Zukiswa Sitho, are on trial on 97 charges, including rape, human trafficking and racketeering.
Sarah Mafikeng, one of several women who laid charges of human trafficking for sex purposes, rape and sexual assault against Omotoso and Sulani, returned to the witness stand on Wednesday.
The day before, she told the court she refused Omotoso’s advances when he first attempted to have sex with her. She testified that he was offended and she was told to leave the house, which she did.
She said she went back home to Mpumalanga and never told anyone what had happened in Omotoso’s house.
Going back to the house
After a while, Mafikeng testified, she received a call from a woman who said it was okay for her to go back to Durban and that “everything is fixed”.
“My understanding was that my request for him to pay for my studies was approved and I could go back and study.”
She said despite her first experience at Omotoso’s Durban base “I let my excitement to further my studies cloud my judgement”.
Mafikeng said as soon as she arrived at the house, she was directed to Omotoso’s room.
She said Omotoso told her “to be obedient and respectful if I want to survive in Durban”.
When Omotoso’s lawyer, Peter Daubermann, put it to Mafikeng that when she returned to the mission house she knew Omotoso was married and wanted an adulterous relationship with her, she responded: “I wouldn’t take it that far”.
“But you had seen what happened before. Didn’t you have time to reflect on what had happened?” Daubermann asked.
Mafikeng said she didn’t think the earlier events would occur again.
“I want to put it to you that it’s impossible that you didn’t think about what had happened,” Daubermann pressed.
“I just let it pass because I was fixated on my plans to study further,” Mafikeng retorted.
Move to Umhlanga
The 26-year-old woman said after some time they moved to a new house in Umhlanga Rocks.
Mafikeng said she was soon told to go to Omotoso’s room to “massage him”.
“[He] asked me to go and take a towel from the bathroom and lay it on the bed next to him,” she said.
“He told me to get on top of the towel. I did – I lay on my back facing upwards,” she said.
“He lay next to me – naked.”
She said after having “sex with me”, Omotoso “then lay on the side next to me and asked that we pray”.
Mafikeng said following this episode there were more incidents of forced sexual acts and she couldn’t “calculate how many times it happened”.
She said she was refused permission to go home.
“I received a call that my uncle had died. He told me to ‘let the dead bury themselves’,” she said.
“Again, I told him that my grandmother was not well – he told me to go back to my life of poverty.”
She said she was eventually given money to go home when she reported that her grandmother was not well and that marked the end of her ordeal.
“I blocked out the events that took place in Omotoso’s houses. The only time I spoke out was when we were doing the Special Assignment documentary,” she said.
Cross-examination continues on Thursday.