The case against charismatic Nigerian pastor Timothy Omotoso and his co-accused has finally been transferred to the Eastern Cape High Court in Port Elizabeth for a pre-trial conference on August 2.
Omotoso, 59, wearing a brick red suit and carrying his Bible, stood in the dock in the Port Elizabeth Magistrate's Court on Tuesday morning, alongside co-accused Zukiswa Sitho, 28, and Lusanda Solani, 36.
Noobubele Mlindi, who was added as a co-accused in March on charges of trafficking in persons and exploitation for sexual purposes, had the charges against her withdrawn. She was not in court as she was in the late stages of her pregnancy.
A small group of supporters again gathered outside, with banners calling for the pastor to be freed.
Prosecutor Nceba Ntelwa confirmed that the issue of centralisation of the case had been finalised, and that a charge of racketeering had been added.
Omotoso and his co-accused are now facing a total of 63 charges, including human trafficking, racketeering, contravention of the Sexual Offences Act, and rape.
Ntelwa also requested that the separate case - relating to Omotoso being in the country illegally, which includes five charges of fraud - be provisionally withdrawn pending the outcome of the other case in the high court.
Defence attorney Peter Daubermann, who was appearing for all the accused, confirmed that Mlindi was not in court due to her being heavily pregnant.
He also confirmed the receipt of the summary of substantive facts.
Omotoso has been in custody, awaiting trial, for more than a year. He was arrested in dramatic fashion at Port Elizabeth International Airport by the SAPS Tactical Response Team on April 20, 2017. His co-accused are out on bail of R2 000 each.
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Magistrate Thandeka Mashiyi withdrew the charges against Mlindi and transferred the case to the high court for the pre-trial. She also noted the provisional withdrawal of the second case against Omotoso.
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