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Omotoso human trafficking trial finally gets under way with first witness

Timothy Omotoso, Lusanda Sulani and Zukiswa Sitho face a string of charges including rape, human trafficking and racketeering.

A screengrab shows pastor Timothy Omotoso in the Eastern Cape High Court on 22 October 2018. Picture: SABC Digital News/youtube.com

CAPE TOWN - Following repeated delays, the State has called its first witness in the trial of a pastor and two women accused of a litany of crimes.

The entire matter had to start afresh after the judge who initially presided over the case recused himself.

Timothy Omotoso, Lusanda Sulani and Zukiswa Sitho face a string of charges including rape, human trafficking and racketeering.

Court proceedings started on Monday with Judge Irma Schoeman dismissing media applications to allow the trial to be broadcast live.

Televangelist Omotoso, Lusanda Sulani and Zukiswa Sitho then pleaded not guilty to all the offences.

The State then called its first witness Andisiwe Dike who joined Omotoso's Jesus Dominion International Church in May 2014 after her mother invited her.

Dike said that at the time, she knew who Omotoso was and regarded him as a "powerful man of God".

As she became more involved with the church, Dike would accompany another senior pastor to hand out pamphlets.

She told the court of Omotoso's numerous titles and nicknames such as "daddy", "papa", "the man of God" and "the general".

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