Pastor Bafomba Willy Emeka, of the God Is Love Ministries, was convicted of 19 counts of rape, three counts of sexual assault and of being in the country illegally.
A PASTOR at the God Is Love Ministries in Bronkhorstspruit, east of Pretoria, Congolese national Bafomba Willy Emeka, has been sentenced to 37 years’ imprisonment by the Pretoria High Court for multiple offences, including 19 counts of rape.
The North Gauteng regional spokesperson for the Director of Public Prosecutions, Lumka Mahanjana, said the court also ordered that Emeka’s name be added to the National Register for Sex Offenders.
The 48-year-old Emeka was also declared unfit to possess a firearm.
“This is after he was convicted on September 22, 2021 for 19 counts of rape, three counts of sexual assault, being in the country illegally and possession or using a falsified permanent residence permit,” said Mahanjana.
Emeka raped and sexually assaulted five women who were members of his congregation between 2015 and 2018 in and around Bronkhorstspruit.
“In raping and sexually assaulting the women, Emeka used the same modus operandi. He would tell them that they had a problem and that he needed to pray for them and bless them in order for him to help them,” said Mahanjana.
“Emeka told one of his victims, who was also assisting with baby-sitting Emeka’s children, that by sleeping with him, he was helping her take things that were inside her out; and until those things came out, she would not be able to conceive.”
This continued for several years, from 2016 to 2018, until the women stopped attending Emeka’s church.
One of Emeka’s victims fell pregnant.
“Because of the rape, the woman could not tell who the father of her child was, between the pastor and her husband. When the woman testified in court, the DNA results to determine who the father was were not yet out,” said Mahanjana.
Emeka was arrested in 2018 after his victims reported him to another pastor in the church. The church encouraged the women to report the matter to the police.
In court, Emeka denied the charges. He has been in custody since his arrest.
State advocate Dorah Ngobeni submitted to the court that South Africa is plagued with two pandemics, the Covid-19 pandemic and abuse against women and children.
In order to deal with the pandemic of abuse against women and children, Ngobeni said courts need to act decisively against perpetrators.
“Pastor Emeka was in a position of trust. The congregants trusted and confided in him and he used that information to prey on them in order to perform all those kinds of offences,” said Ngobeni.
The National Prosecuting Authority has welcomed Emeka’s sentencing.