A 57-year-old man, Pastor James Thubakgale was convicted and sentenced to two life imprisonment following two counts of rape of minor girls of 14 and 16 years of age. He was sentenced on Wednesday, at the Mankweng Magistrate’s court.
Thubakgale was a well-known pastor of the Deliverance Church of Christ in Polokwane.
Limpopo spokesperson for the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) Mashudu Malabi – Dzhangi said Thubakgale used to rape minor children who attended his church. Their 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 church service. The pastor called the complainant in order to deliver her from evil spirits. The pastor penetrated her claiming to remove the evil spirit, “said Dzhangi
She said the second incident of a 14-year-old girl happened after church in his house.
“Thubakgale called the complainant upon the arrival she was told 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 that he will remove it.
“He allegedly also raped the second girl. The complainant was raped several times until she stopped attending the church,” she added.
Thubakgale pleaded not guilty to both counts. He and five other church members are facing several charges on a pending case in Seshego Magistrate court.
In mitigation of sentence, defence argued that the accused should be given a lesser sentence or a non- custodial sentence. The court must also take into consideration the age and the health condition of the accused.
In aggravation of sentence advocate Calvin Tjege argued that the submission by the defence does not have substance, since there are no substantial and compelling circumstances that exist. He further asked the court to impose the prescribed minimum sentence for each count.
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 imprisonment.