News / South Africa

Daniel Friedman
2 minute read
6 Nov 2018
1:13 pm

Bid to ban ANC, EFF from protesting outside Omotoso’s church

Daniel Friedman

Members of Jesus Dominion International have taken to court in an attempt to ban protests outside the church's Port Elizabeth branch.

Televangelist Timothy Omotoso in the dock of the Port Elizabeth High Court. Picture: ANA

Televangelist and pastor Tim Omotoso’s church, Jesus Dominion International, has been the target of protests, which managed to get it shut down in October. Now, three members are going to court in an attempt to get members of the EFF, ANC Youth League (ANCYL) and ANC Women’s League (ANCWL) legally prohibited from further protests, HeraldLive reports.

Three members of the church, Ntombomzi Mbaza‚ Mbeko Mnyatheli and Madoda Cingo have launched an urgent application at the Port Elizabeth High Court on Tuesday. They hope for a ruling that would bar protesters from being able to picket within 200m of the PE church, one of many nationwide.

READ MORE: Omotoso’s church still operating amid calls to shut it down

They want the application’s respondents – the ANC and EFF, to pay the costs of the application as well as the three individual’s legal costs if they succeed.
They also want to legally ensure protesters cannot intimidate, harass or assault members of the church as they try to enter.

The applicants believe that the closure of the church violated their rights to freedom of association and of freedom to practice their religion, according to the application’s accompanying affidavits.

They are arguing that the church has lawful possession of the building.

Omotoso 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 Citizen reported in October that a civil society group calling itself Nelson Mandela Bay Citizens Unity, which 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), had launched a campaign to get the church shut down.

READ MORE: Protesters shut down Omotoso’s church

The group sent a series of questions sent to the Metro Police and SAPS regarding inspections and zoning, health and safety issues around the church led to the discovery that the building has no certificate to operate and is not zoned to be used as a church.

This, coupled with the presence of angry protesters, ensured that no service could take place on October 21.

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