Pastor goes to jail for 37 years for 19 rapes and sexual assault
A pastor who repeatedly raped women in his congregation was found guilty after his victims reported the crimes to another pastor.
Congolese Pastor of “God Is Love Ministries”, Bafomba Willy Emeka, has been sentenced to 37 years in jail for a slew of rape and sexual assault crimes.
Emeka, 48, was handed is sentence sentenced in the Pretoria High Court on Monday after he was found guilty of multiple sexual offences.
NPA North Gauteng Regional spokesperson Lumka Mahanjana said Emeka had been convicted of 19 counts of rape; three counts of sexual assault; for being illegal in the country and for possession/use of a falsified permanent residence permit, on the 22 September 2021.
“Emeka committed all the rapes and sexual assault offences against five women who were members of his congregation, between 2015 and 2018 in and around Bronkhorstspruit,” Mahanjana said.
“In raping and sexually assaulting the women, Emeka used the same modus operandi. He would tell them that they had a problem and that he needed to pray for them and bless them in order for him to help them. Emeka told one of his victims who was also assisting with baby-sitting Emeka’s children that by sleeping with him he was helping her take things that were inside her out, and until those things came out she would not be able to conceive,” Mahanjana said.
The rapes continued between 2016 and 2018 until the women stopped attending the church after Emeka told the congregation that he had made one of the women’s pregnancy’s “disappear”.
“One of Emeka’s victims fell pregnant. Because of the rape, the woman could not tell who the father of her child was between the pastor and her husband. When the woman testified in court the DNA results to determine who the father was were not yet out,” Mahanjana said.
Emeka was arrested in 2018 after his victims reported him to another pastor at the church, who then encouraged them to report the rapes to the police.
“Emeka has been in custody since his arrest though he denies ever committing those offences,” Mahanjana said.
State Advocate, Dorah Ngobeni argued that South Africa is faced with two pandemics, Covid-19 and abuse against women and children. In order to deal with the pandemic of abuse against women and children the courts needed to act decisively, she said. Emeka was in a position of trust, and whom the congregants trusted and confided in, had used that information to prey on women in order to commit his crimes, she added. The Court ordered that his name be added on the National Register for Sexual Offenders. He was also declared unfit to possess a firearm.