A pastor who promised his congregants that they would see heaven if they acceded to his requests, has been found guilty of three counts of rape, common assault and calling a person a witch by the Limpopo High Court.

James Devine Thubakgale, 58, of Devine Deliverance Church in Seshego, would target young girls who were under 16 and tell them that God wanted them to be married.

He would then rape the girls at a lodge, in his cars and also in rooms which he rented for them, the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA).

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“He threatened them that if they refused to either marry or have sex with him, God would punish them for disobedience and there would be death and sickness in their families.

“At all times the victims would obey his rules and when they defied him, he would scold them and call them witches who were possessed by evil spirits. He assaulted his victims in full view of other fellow congregants.

“Thubakgale continued with his reign of terror without the victims reporting the incidents to the authorities in fear of sickness and death from 2010 until 2017,” the NPA said.

James Devine Thubakgale

James Devine Thubakgale

The NPA said Thubakgale had presented himself to his congregants “as a powerful man of God” who could heal the sick and cast away evil. He demanded to be called a “judge” because he was going to be a judge with God when the world ended.

“He would demand that congregants bring all their money to the church including their retirements savings,” added the NPA.

In September last year, Thubakgale was sentenced by the Mankweng Regional Court, in another, case to two life terms for two counts of rape of minor girls.

His current case has been postponed to 24 March 2021 for sentencing.

Compiled by Neo Thale

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