Port Elizabeth – Hundreds of people gathered outside the Port Elizabeth Magistrate’s Court on Wednesday ahead of the bail application of a Nigerian pastor.
The pastor, who cannot be named until he has been asked to plead, was based in Durban when he was arrested at the Port Elizabeth airport by the Hawks on April 21. He has been in custody for the past 12 days.
He was originally charged with two counts of human trafficking and two counts of sexual assault.
His appearance in court 22 for his formal bail application was delayed on Wednesday after a further 18 counts were added to the docket, bringing the total charges against him to 22.
When proceedings eventually got underway, shortly after 11:00, the bail application was again delayed by a late application from the SABC, seeking to record the bail proceedings.
Magistrate Thandeka Mashiyi asked why the application for access had not been brought sooner and why no papers had been submitted by the SABC.
The SABC’s legal representative told the court that he had only received instructions to bring the application late on Tuesday, as the request to file for access to the proceedings had to be relayed from the SABC’s Eastern Cape editorial offices to their national office.
Defence council for the pastor, Advocate Alfonso Hattingh, objected to the late application. Mashiyi then postponed the matter to 14:00, for papers to be filed.
Supporters of the pastor, who had gathered outside the court since the early hours of Wednesday morning, burst out in song, broke through police tape barricades, and ran screaming down the street, as the message was incorrectly relayed to them that the pastor would be released at 14:00.
Members of the SAPS Public Order Police unit formed a human barricade between the supporters and a group of African National Congress and Economic Freedom Fighters supporters, who had gathered to protest against the pastor, demanding that no bail be granted.