Ricochet News

Harassment case between Reverend and school principal postponed

By Afikile Lugunya - Nov 14, 2017
Harassment case between Reverend and school principal postponed

The long-running case against a well-known Port Elizabeth Pastor and head of the Tengo Dialogue Foundation 4 Community Development Network Trust, Reverend Dr Xolani Tengo, suffered another postponement - this time to next year.

Reverend Tengo appeared for the seventh time in the Port Elizabeth Magistrate's Court on Monday for allegedly harassing Morningside High School Principal Dr Saraswathi Pather.

He is alleged to have harassed and threatened Dr Pather, since back in 2013, when he was a member of the School Governing Body (SGB). That year, he approached the Eastern Cape Department of Education to probe alleged financial irregularities at the school.

Early this year, Dr Pather asked the court to issue a protection order as Rev Tengo was allegedly harrassing her.

He denies all the allegations against him.

The Pastor, in turn, accused Dr Pather of using delaying tactics in resolving the matter as, according to him, she is being investigated by the Eastern Cape Department of Education, for financial mismanagement at the school.

At the last court hearing, he had been advised to seek arbitration as he said he was tired of coming to court over the same issue

On Monday, Reverend Tengo was accompanied by Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) PR Councillor, Zilindile Vena, who said that he came to show support for the Reverend, who is an EFF member.

“We think that he is in pursuit of a right cause because he is fighting corruption now he is taken to court for a restraining order, you see now  that they are trying to silence him,” Vena described.

He also added that people like Reverend Tengo need to be supported to encourage other people with implicating information to come forward.

“The EFF thinks that you cannot just silence people, who think that they’ve got information of any wrongdoing and such people need to be supported, so that we can encourage other community members to not sit and keep quiet, if they believe that they have proof of what they are saying,” he added.

Tengo told RNEWS that he has since decided to withdraw from arbitration after “Dr Pather's legal team failed to secure Mediation or Arbitration as per their proposal to the Presiding Magistrate”.

In court, it emerged that Dr Pather’s attorney’s had misspelled the email address of Rev. Tengo’s attorney, Kwaku Aduna.

In the end, Tengo’s legal team was ready for the trial, as they have brought three witnesses to court, while the legl team of Dr Pather said that they were still under the impression that the Mediation process was continuing, so their three witnesses were not present.

Dr Pather’s lawyer told the court that Mediation would save time, but Tengo refused.

The court postponed the matter to the 13th of February next year, when Rev Tengo returns from his holiday in the United Arab Emirates.

Rev Tengo still accused Dr Pather of delaying the process.

“All of a sudden, they don’t know how to spell the email address, but they have been using the same email address from day one. They are using delay tactics with this Arbitration,” Tengo said.

Image: Reverend Xolani Tengo (left) with his wife at the PE Magistrate's Court