A popular pastor in South Africa has been sentenced to two life imprisonment for raping two girls, aged 14 and 16.
Limpopo-based Pastor James Thubakgale, was convicted on two counts of rape at the Mankweng regional court.
Mashudu Malabi-Dzhangi, the Limpopo spokesperson for the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA), said Pastor Thubakgale of the Deliverance Church of Christ in Polokwane used to rape minor children attending his church.
According to him, the victims’ parents were told to bring their kids in order to receive deliverance or to get the prophecy.
During the trial, the court heard that the first incident of a 16-year-old girl happened in 2009 after a church service.
Thubakgale was said to have told the girl there was an evil spirit in her stomach before penetrating her.
In the second case, Pastor Thubakgale called the 14-year-old girl and told her that God loves her and she has a gift of prophecy but the problem is that she has a snake inside her stomach.
However, Thubakgale promised her he would remove the “snake” from the young girl’s stomach.
“The pastor put a white towel on the bed and instructed her to sleep so that he can take out the snake and he told her to undress to her underwear only. He immediately grabbed her hands and inserted his penis into her vagina and raped her. She tried to scream and no one came to her rescue,” said Malabi-Dzhangi.
“The pastor ran the water and told her to bathe. He later came with the gun and threatened her with it.”
Weeks later, Thubakgale called the teenager, went into her house and instructed her to lie on the couch and raped her again.
The NPA said the teenager “was raped several times until she stopped attending the church”.
Thubakgale pleaded not guilty to the charges.
Thubakgale and five other church members are also facing several charges on a pending case in the Seshego Magistrate’s Court.
In mitigation of sentence, Thubakgale’s defence team argued that the man of the cloth should be given a lesser sentence, preferably a non-custodial sentence. The lawyers submitted the court should consider Thubakgale’s age and his health conditions.
“In aggravation of sentence, advocate Calvin Tjege argued the submission by the defence did not have substance, since no substantial and compelling circumstances existed. He further asked the court to impose the prescribed minimum sentence for each count,” said Malabi-Dzhangi.
“The court remarked that the accused being the pastor was supposed to protect the flock and not to abuse or to breach the trust. The court agreed with the State and sentenced Thubakgale to two (life terms).”
Over 5,000 Seal Pups Found Dead In Namibia
No fewer than 5,000 dead seal pups have been washed up on land in Namibia – raising consternation from animal conservation groups.
Cape fur seals, who are often called the “dogs of the ocean” due to their playful nature, will often desert their young or abort their foetuses if there is a dearth of food around, reports say.
It is believed that the pups were aborted by their mothers.
The seals usually synchronise giving birth on the sandy beaches in November, but the amount of tiny bodies now on the beaches show something is not right.
The Ocean Conservation Namibia (OCNaimibia) have said they were carrying out tests to determine the cause of premature births.
Naude Dreyer of OCNamibia noticed the bodies after flying his drone over Walvis Bay’s Pelican Point seal colony on 5 October.
“This is the situation at Pelican Point, Namibia,” his organisation tweeted.
“All the little red circles mark dead seal pups. A rough estimate brings the numbers to more than 5,000 at our seal colony alone. This is tragic, as it makes up a large portion of the new pup arrivals expected in late November.
“The most likely cause is food resources we are going through some really strange climatic changes at the moment it could be the warm currents that bring in the fish.”
The seal mothers are also reported to be malnourished.
Cape fur seals can predominantly be found along the coastlines of Namibia and South Africa – stretching to the southern tip of Angola in the north.
South Africa’s Police Arrest Public Officials For Inflating Project Costs
South African authorities have arrested four former public officials for inflating the cost of a prjoect.
The Hawks, on Thursday, arrested former senior Gauteng Department of Health officials for alleged R1.2 billion tender irregularities committed almost 13 years ago.
The arrested are a former head of department who was also an accounting officer at the time; chief director of information communication and technology; head of supply chain management; and the deputy director for executive support.
They are accused of receiving kickbacks for their role in ensuring the contract was awarded to an undeserving entity and have been charged with fraud, corruption, money laundering and contravention of the Public Finance Management Act.
Police say the case emanates from February 2007 where the State Information Technology Agency (Sita) submitted a proposal to continue with an information technology maintenance programme at the department.
The Hawks’ Lieutenant Colonel Philani Nkwalase said the total cost of a project like that was not meant to be over R57 million for a period of three years.
“The contract was instead awarded to a private entity at a whopping cost of around R1.2 billion without following due tender procedures.
“Two private company directors who unduly benefited from the tender are yet to be charged along together with their two companies. The said directors are reportedly outside of the country but steps have already been initiated to ensure that they are accounted for,” Nkwalase said.
The four appeared in the Palm Ridge Specialised Commercial Crime Court on Thursday.
Burundi Ex-President Rejects Conviction for Murder
Former Burundian President Pierre Buyoya, who is the current High Representative of the African Union for Mali and the Sahel, has rejected his conviction in absentia in Burundi to life imprisonment.
He was convicted of the murder of his predecessor Melchior Ndadaye in 1993.
Melchior Ndadaye, Burundi’s first democratically elected president and the first Hutu to come to power, was assassinated in October 1993 in a military coup that led the country into a civil war between the army.
This resulted in 300,000 deaths until 2006.
Buyoya was convicted of an attack against the head of state, an attack against the authority of the state and an attack tending to bring about massacre and devastation.
Eighteen senior military and civilian officials close to the former head of state were given same sentence. Three others were sent to 20 years in prison for “complicity” in the same crimes and only one, the former transitional Prime Minister, Antoine Nduwayo, was acquitted.
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