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Cheryl Zondi thanks public for support during Omotoso rape trial

In a statement on Friday afternoon, Zondi (22) says she’s overwhelmed by the messages of kindness she’s received.

A video screengrab of Cheryl Zondi testifying at the Timothy Omotoso trial. Picture: YouTube

JOHANNESBURG/CAPE TOWN - One of controversial Nigerian pastor Timothy Omotoso’s rape accusers Cheryl Zondi has thanked the public for their messages of support.

In a statement on Friday afternoon, Zondi (22) says she’s overwhelmed by the messages of kindness she’s received.

She is a state witness in the trial of Omotoso and two co-accused.

“I am so overwhelmed! I do not know where to begin. I cannot believe the amount of support I am receiving, let alone the fierce, passionate level of support that is being shown by the multitudes of women and men alike, both young and old.

“How do I thank you? How do I even begin to express my profuse gratitude to you? So many of you have taken time out of your daily routine to show your support and I am in absolute awe.”

Zondi spent several days on the stand at the Eastern Cape High Court in Port Elizabeth this week detailing the alleged sexual abuse she suffered at the hands of Omotoso.

The trial has raised questions over the treatment of victims of sexual violence and patriarchy in the judiciary after Zondi endured a barrage of questions from Omotoso’s lawyer, advocate Peter Daubermann, who suggested she was a willing participant in her alleged rape.

Zondi says being a woman in the world it’s already challenging on its own.

“I’ve been seeing thousands of your messages flowing in, a myriad of tweets, posts, comments and beautiful dedications! I am overcome by so much emotion. Being a woman in this world is a challenging task on its own and we constantly find ourselves having to defend our dignity on a daily basis so whatever battle I am fighting is the same battle every other woman out there is fighting.

“Thank you so much for love, unwavering support fervent prayers. I plead that we keep up the same level of fierce support as fellow survivors continue to take the stand. We can’t do this alone and we need you! May every heart standing with us be blessed beyond measure.”

OMOTOSO'S LAWYER SPEAKS OUT

Omotoso's lawyer says he will not be deterred by what he calls intimidation at the hands of protesters.

Daubermann had to be escorted to his car by a police officer following court proceedings this week.

He has pursued an aggressive line of cross-examination with Zondi. And that has seen him fall foul of protesters who arrived at the court this week to support the tough young woman.

A video clip posted on social media shows a group of demonstrators gather around Daubermann before a policeman escorts him to his car.

The group can be heard yelling at him and hurling insults at him for defending Omotoso and two others.

Daubermann spoke to Eyewitness News on Friday and said that no legal representative can allow themselves to be intimidated by third parties.

He says this applies to anyone within the legal profession.

Daubermann is defending Omotoso and his co-accused Lusanda Sulani and Zukiswa Sitho.

Together they face more than 60 charges including racketeering, rape and human trafficking.

The case resumes next Monday when the State is expected to call a new witness.

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