Rape, sex assault claims pile up against Klerksdorp pastor

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Rape, sex assault claims pile up against Klerksdorp pastor

Church says it stands by Bishop TJ Pitso after six more women lay complaints

Journalist

More women have come forward to lay rape and sexual assault complaints against Bishop TJ Pitso.
The Sunday Times reported last week on claims by 10 women that Pitso, the leader of Jehovah Shammah International Ministries, had lured them to his church and demanded they have sex with him.
Three had laid a complaint of rape with police, while one had opened a case of sexual assault.
This week, North West police spokesman Adele Myburgh said that by Friday six complaints of rape and one of sexual assault had been laid against Pitso.
Myburgh said most of the incidents occurred between 2015 and January 2017. Police were working with the prosecutor to evaluate each case.
“We also suspect that some of the victims are still part of the church and are scared to come out, but we would like to assure everyone that each of the cases will be treated with utmost respect,” said Myburgh.The women, aged between 20 and 36, broke their silence after Pitso’s former personal assistant made several allegations against Pitso on a local community radio station, and posted a video on social media claiming Pitso, 50, took advantage of her poverty and spiritual need.
The church has denied all allegations, claiming last week that the personal assistant had tried to solicit money from Pitso after she was stripped of signing powers over church finances.This week the church said the woman was possessed by the devil and no action had been taken against Pitso.
The church is believed to have more than 30 branches across South Africa. Its spokesman, Joseph Pitso, said: “You are of this world and you will never understand things of the spirit ... The world never loved our master Jesus. How am I going to expect you to love and understand the calling of serving God’s people? We as the church stand by our bishop.”
The Commission for the Promotion and Protection of the Rights of Cultural‚ Religious and Linguistic Communities chairperson Thoko Mkhwanazi-Xaluva said parliament needed to act speedily on its report on the commercialisation of religion.
She said the report explained why people were gullible and often told by their leaders that if they worshipped God in a certain way, he would do something for them in return.

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