Ricochet News

Cheryl Zondi ready to re-testify at Omotoso trial, says State has done nothing to protect her

By Afikile Lugunya - Mar 19, 2019
Cheryl Zondi ready to re-testify at Omotoso trial, says State has done nothing to protect her

Port Elizabeth – Despite an apparent danger to her own life, the first witness in the trial of controversial Nigerian televangelist and Senior Pastor of the Jesus Dominion International church, Tim Omotoso, on Tuesday said that she is ready to testify against Omotoso under a new judge.

The new presiding Judge in the Omotoso trial is Selby Mbenenge.

Last year, Zondi detailed how she joined the church and was later sexually abused by Omotoso at his Durban home.

She also linked one of Omotoso's co-accused, Lusanda Solani, to the abuses

Omotoso and his co-accused, Lusanda Sulani and Zukiswa Sitho, face a total of 97 charges related to human trafficking and sexual assault - 63 of which are the main charges and 34 are listed as alternative charges.

Still, the accused refused to plead to all the charges against them.

Zondi said that the NPA hasn’t officially informed her about the recusal of Judge Mandela Makaula and how the recusal is going to affect her.

However, she reads the news and she understands that she is more likely to testify all over again "as if she didn’t do it last year".

“If I have to go through secondary victimization all over again to get justice so be it because I know that the truth is going to trump all these lies and all these tactics and all of these lies as always and it will prevail,” she said.

Zondi said that she doesn’t care how many times she has to tell the “truth” or go through the same process.

“I will not give up because this is not about me or about this case it is much bigger than all of us and it is about justice so the struggle is going to continue whether they like it or not.”

Zondi said that she didn’t feel good when she found out that Judge Makaula would be recusing himself from the case, said that she couldn’t even eat.

However, Zondi said that it is better that it happened now while there is just one person, who has come out.

'Coming out changed my life forever' - Zondi

“When I decided to publicly come out about my sexual abuse, psychological oppression and trauma choosing to wave my right, to remain anonymous my life changed forever.

“I didn’t have to think hard about the decision because I had the support of my family which was what I needed," she described.

“After years and years of work I’ve come to a point where feeling ashamed made no sense at all because I was the one that was violated and had to reveal my identity.”

She said that she anticipated some support and negativity ahead of the trial.

“I had no reason to hide, I was given a choice and that’s what I chose to do.”

Zondi said that she wasn’t expecting such flood of support from the people of South Africa and she wasn’t prepared for it.

“The plan was that I’d go to Port Elizabeth, say my say and then move on with my life," she described.

“Instead I was traumatized again by the defence lawyer, Peter Dauberman who asked about centimetres and telling me that I wanted to get raped and basically making me feel like I was the one on trial."

Death threats followed after Zondi testified against Omotoso

“If that wasn’t bad enough, I’ve been back home from just a few days when I was told that there was a hit around my head for half a million Rand because I dare speak my truth, I had to move out of my home and away from my family that was keeping me sane to somewhere safer to avoid imminent death.”

Zondi said that Thoko Xaluva-Mkhwanazi, who is the deputy of the Cheryl Zondi Foundation accommodated her.

“She was there for me on her own account in her own home with her family and I don’t want to think of what could have happened to me if it wasn’t for me,” she described.

The state did nothing to help Zondi

Although it has been said that Zondi has been in witness protection, Zondi told the media that she has never been on witness protection.

Instead the state advised her "drop out of school and run for her life".

“All this was happening and the state did absolutely nothing, I had the state witness protection programme after waiting for them to contact me for weeks telling me to change my name and move in the middle of nowhere and drop out of school.

“Regarding what was said, but I was never, ever in witness protection because of the system that doesn’t work especially for witnesses that are young and not criminals or criminal informants," she told journalists.

“I was basically being punished for breaking my silence and I still am publicly experiencing what it means to be at the messy of secondarily victimization for the second time."

Follow more RNEWS articles, subscribe to our YouTube channel and for breaking news LIKE us on Facebook. For news on the Western Cape click here.