The trial of rape-accused televangelist Timothy Omotoso and his two co-accused, Lusanda Sulani and Zukiswa Sitho, continued on Wednesday, with the cross-examination of ex- Idols twin Neliswa Mxakaza in the Eastern Cape High Court in Port Elizabeth.
The three face 97 charges, including rape, human trafficking and racketeering, with a total of 47 State witnesses scheduled to take the stand.
Their lawyer, Peter Daubermann, grilled Mxakaza on her testimony against them. Her twin sister, Anele, had also testified how they were allegedly groomed to please Omotoso.
Daubermann asked her who the first person was she reported to about the incidents that allegedly took place in Omotoso’s bedroom.
“From the first accused’s room, on the first occasion that you were sexually molested by him, you went to the Grace Galaxy’s room, you made a report there – as to what happened?” Daubermann asked.
Mxakaza replied that she wouldn’t say she reported to anyone because nobody would have done anything about it.
“I did tell my older sister, but I didn’t give her the full details of what happened,” she elaborated.
She said she told her sister, who then recounted the story to Captain Brenda Magwangqana.
“After the first occasion, who was the first person you told about what happened?” Daubermann asked.
She said she first reported to Captain Magwangqana. “I told her about what I remembered at that time.”
‘I think my mother was too afraid to confirm…’
Mxakaza said she told her mother about what had happened to them, but only after they had told the police.
“Did your mother ask you before you went to the police about what happened at the house?” asked Daubermann.
She said their mother never really asked.
“I think my mother was too afraid to confirm if any of the things being said had happened to us,” she said.
‘I can’t remember what I wrote, Sir’
Daubermann shared portions of the evidence given by Anele, the other twin, during her evidence.
“Your sister said she still supported accused number one.”
He said her sister testified that, even after the time Omotoso had been arrested, she protected him and wrote social media posts supporting him.
“Did you do the same?” he asked.
She replied: “I did post some things – in support of him, yes.”
She said she wrote some things “to protect him” – but could not remember what she had written.
“Your sister testified that she went to a protest in Durban, where she wore a placard around her neck,” said the lawyer.
Mxakaza told the court she didn’t know anything about the protest or the placard, and that she hadn’t been there.
Judge Irma Schoeman said: “The placard said, ‘innocent until proven guilty’.”
Mxakaza reiterated that she never went to the protest and didn’t know what happened there.
Daubermann asked if it would be correct to say, even after Omotoso’s arrest, she still protested his innocence.
She said she couldn’t remember what she wrote.
“But Lusanda (Sulani) said that his (Omotoso’s) wife told us to write on social media… so we had to write to protect him,” she said.
She said Sulani told them they needed to support Omotoso.
“We needed to fight for him.”
Omotoso, Sulani deny all allegations
Daubermann consulted with Sulani.
She told him it was not true that she told the witness to post on social media.
Before he even finished the sentence, Mxakaza, who appeared more confident than her twin, interjected: “Yes, she did, Sir. She did say that.”
Daubermann then read all the allegations by Mxakaza against Omotoso and Sulani, and told the court that the two accused denied it all.
“That is absolutely not true, he is lying, she is lying, they are lying, Sir,” Mxakaza told Daubermann.
The defence lawyer also asked Mxakaza if she knew Pamela Mabini and where she worked.
“Pam? I don’t know her surname, but I do know her. I don’t know where she works, but she supported us after we came out,” responded Mxakaza.
“When did she start supporting you, before or after you reported the matter to the police? Did she assist you in laying a complaint with the police, or paid you to do that or supported you?” Daubermann asked.
“She was supporting us after,” said Mxakaza.
Daubermann asked if the twins had told Mabini about what had happened to them in the Omotoso house.
“We just told her the story, but not the details,” said Mxakaza.
Mabini is an activist, who supported the girls in testifying against the accused throughout the case.
A murder attempt was made on her life when the case first made it to the court, following Omotoso’s dramatic arrest.
Schoeman dismissed Mxakaza.
A new witness will take the stand when the trial resumes on Thursday.