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'Omotoso followers didn't do ANC a favour by withdrawing application for court interdict'

By Afikile Lugunya - Nov 30, 2018
'Omotoso followers didn't do ANC a favour by withdrawing application for court interdict'

The African National Congress Youth League (ANCYL) in the Nelson Mandela Bay on Thursday that they are happy that the Jesus Dominion International Church members had decided to withdraw their application for a court interdict against the League and others.

However, they wanted to make it clear that the three Jesus Dominion International Church members did not do the League a favour by withdrawing the legal bid.

Three JDI members had approached the courts after the ANCYL, Economic Freedom Fighters and gender groups held numerous protests in support of the controversial Nigerian televangelist, Tim Omotoso’s, victims at the Port Elizabeth High Court.

Omotoso and his co-accused, Lusanda Solani and Zukiswa Sitho, are facing 97 charges in total including for racketeering, sexual assault and rape. 63 of those charges constitute the main charge sheet while 34 are alternative charges.

He will be back in court on the 10th of December.

One of the victims, Chery 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.

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

The trial is currently delayed after presiding Judge Mandela Makaula dismissed an application by the Omotoso's defense for leave to appeal his decision to not recuse himself from the trial over alleged bias.

The groups also marched onto the Port Elizabeth branch of the Jesus Dominion International Church and called on authorities to close down the church, which they labelled a cult.

The branch previously located adjacent the Port Lizabeth new Law Court precinct has since been closed.

JDI members claim that Omotoso is innocent and that their has been targeted in a conspiracy.

Application for an interdict against the ANC, EFF and other groups

The Jesus Dominion International Church members wanted the Port Elizabeth High Court to order the EFF, ANCYL and others to stop holding protests close to their church premises.

Apparently the building they were using belongs to the Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality and the lease for the building states that it is for business purposes, and does not include use as a church.

‘The JDI application was doomed to fail’

The ANCYL in a statement said that there was no chance the court application by the JDI members would succeed, so they did not do anyone a favour by withdrawing the case as they would like people to believe.

"That is far from the truth as the case was withdrawn as the counsel for the applicants conceded to the fact that there were no prospects of their application being successful.

"The applicants reached this Damascus moment after our lawyers filed responding affidavits, raising a plethora of issues in relation to the application brought forward to the courts,” Luyolo Nqakula, ANCYL Regional Secretary, explained.

"The first was the locus standi of the members, who brought the application as they have no legal authority to do so.”

He added that the second was the non-joinder of certain parties on the matter such as the ANC “even though in their papers they (applicants) recognise the autonomy of the ANC Womens League and Youth League respectively, but state it was people wearing ANC regalia, which was worn at the shutdown”.

"The outstanding matter, which is before the courts is the issue of costs, counsel for the applicants wants to pay party to party costs whilst we are of the view they must be paid to on an attorney client basis as they are the ones who invited us to the courts on an urgent basis.”

He added that the outcome of the case on Thursday was a "morale booster" for their struggle.

Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality must announce JDI’s legal standing

The ANCYL called upon the Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality to pronounce the legal standing of the church.

"Section 152 (d) in the constitution states that one of the objects of local government is to promote a safe and healthy environment.

"The existence of that church is in direct contravention to this provision of the constitution,” Nqakula described.

"We are calling on the Municipality to enact the law or we will compel it too as the ANCYL.”

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