Congolese national Bafomba Willy Emeka, a pastor at God Is Love Ministries in Bronkhorstspruit, east of Pretoria, was sentenced to 37 years in jail by the Pretoria High Court for several offences, including 19 charges of rape.

Lumka Mahanjana, the director of public prosecutions’ regional spokeswoman for North Gauteng, said the court also ordered Emeka’s name to be put to the National Register for Sexual Offenders.

Emeka, 48, was also found to be unfit to possess a firearm. “This is after he was convicted on the 22 September 2021 for 19 counts of rape, three counts of sexual assault, being illegal in the country and possession or using falsified permanent residence permit,” said Mahanjana.

Between 2015 and 2018, Emeka raped and sexually assaulted five women who were members of his congregation 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,” Mahanjana added.

“Emeka told one of his victims who was also assisting with babysitting 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 went on for years until the women quit going to Emeka’s church in 2018. One of Emeka’s victims became pregnant as a result of his actions. “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.

After his victims reported him to another pastor in the church, Emeka was arrested in 2018. The women were encouraged by the church to report the incident to the police.

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