Members of the Jesus Dominion International Church will be applying to the Port Elizabeth High Court on Tuesday to bar members of the ANC Youth League‚ ANC Women’s League and EFF from protesting in front of their Port Elizabeth branch.
The church is led by controversial pastor Timothy Omotoso‚ who is standing trial on charges of sexual assault‚ rape and human trafficking.
Church members Ntombomzi Mbaza‚ Mbeko Mnyatheli and Madoda Cingo want their application to be heard on an urgent basis. They are urging the court to rule that the protesters refrain from picketing within 200m of their church on Govan Mbeki Avenue.
Their application states that members of the ANC and EFF must be ordered not to assault‚ intimidate or harass congregants when entering the church. They also want the respondents to be ordered to pay the costs of the application as well as their legal costs should the judgment be in their favour.
In their accompanying affidavits‚ the applicants stated that the closure of the church was a material violation of their rights to practice religion and a violation of their right to freedom of association‚ adding that the church had lawful possession of the building.
Last month‚ members of the ANCYL‚ the ANC Women’s League and EFF gathered outside the church building and called for it to be shut down. They argued that the building did not have the correct zoning rights to operate as a church.
ANCYL Nelson Mandela Bay secretary Luyolo Nqakula said they would oppose the application. He said it was merely an attempt to derail their efforts to advance the struggles of the youth.
“We want to reiterate our contempt in relation to the persons undermining our societal efforts to deal with the scourge of gender-based violence in our country‚” said Nqakula.
“We remain steadfast in our position to continue to fearlessly defend victims of gender-based violence.”