26 March 2021
Pretoria -The High Court of South Africa, Limpopo Division in Polokwane has on Wednesday sentenced to life a 58-year-old pastor, James Devine Thubakgale for rape, assault common and calling another person a witch, Mashudu Malabi Dzhangi, National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) spokesperson in Limpopo said.
“Pastor Thubakgale of Devine Deliverance Church based at Seshego, presented himself to his congregants as a powerful man of God, who was able to heal the sick and cast away the devil. He claimed he had been sent to this world to save them.”
“He demanded to be called a judge as he was going to be a judge with God on judgment day. He instructed congregants to bring all their money and even their retirement savings to church,” Dzhangi said.
Dzhangi said that the congregants respected and obeyed his orders as they believed that he was part of the holy trinity and was closest to God. Whatever he wanted they would do for him.
He would target young girls who were under 16 years of age and promised them marriage. He told them it was God himself who wanted them to marry him.
“He raped the girls in his motor vehicles, at a lodge and also in their rooms which he was responsible for renting.”
“He induced fear on his victims and told them that if they refused to marry him or sleep with him, God would punish them for disobedience and there would be death and sickness in their families,” he added.
The victims obeyed his rules and when they defied him he would scold them and call them witches that were possessed by evil spirits.
He would assault them in full view of other fellow congregants. All this happened between 2010 and 2017, Dzhangi maintained.
Thubakgale is already in jail after the Mankweng Regional Court sentenced him to two life imprisonment terms for rape of two minor girls for the incidents of 2011 and 2012. He was sentenced on 30 September 2020 for these offences.
Meanwhile, Advocate Eric Mabapa asked the court to remove the pastor permanently from the community as he had abused his position of assisting people.
The court sentenced him to life imprisonment plus 10 years imprisonment on two counts of rape, common assault and four months for calling a person a witch.