‘You’re Not Telling Me the Truth’ – Defence Lawyer Tells Zondi in Omotoso Trial

Cheryl Zondi, the first witness in trial of Nigerian pastor Timothy Omotoso, takes the stand for the third day in the Eastern Cape High Court in Port Elizabeth. WARNING: Some testimony might have content of a sexual nature.




Daubermann: Did you attend a 30 day music workshop in 2010 in Durban.

Zondi: Yes

Daubermann: Where did you stay?

Zondi: In Umlazi – at different houses and sometimes at the church.


Daubermann: Who was the first person you told?

Zondi: I can’t remember if she was the first person, but I do remember speaking to Malusha about it.

Daubermann: What did you tell her?

Zondi: I can’t remember my exact words, but I told her I went back to the church and left again, because Timothy was still abusing me. She said she knew exactly what I was talking about.

Daubermann: Did you tell any family member about what happened to you?

Zondi: My family concluded that I needed therapy, they didn’t know why.


Zondi says Lusanda groomed and adviced her to please this man. She assisted Fezeka.

Daubermann: Did she deceieve you in any way or misrepresent herself?

Zondi: I was under the impression that I was going home to PE, so she may have.


Daubermann: Did she threaten you in any way? Intimidate you?

Zondi: She didn’t threaten me. She warned me against not pleasing me.


Daubermann: You’re not suggesting that she was telling you to allow him to abuse you?

Zondi: That’s not what I’m suggesting, it’s what I’m saying. It was referred to as an appointment.


Daubermann: So she (accused no.2) was also under his spell?

Zondi: Maybe she should answer that for herself.


Zondi says she was warned against not pleasing Omotoso.

Daubermann: When did Lusanda (referred to as accused number 2)come into the picture?

Zondi: I have known her since I joined the church. She organised travel, grocery lists, she ironed this man’s clothing.

Zondi says accused number 2 would tell her to please Omotoso and told her: “when you go up there, don’t waste time, because at the end of the day, you’re doing this for your tomorrow.”


Daubermann: You’re not telling me the truth


Daubermann questions Zondi on Omotoso’s trip to America, why she did not escape during that “opportunity to escape”.

Zondi: I did not have money

Daubermann: If only you had money, did it occur to you that this is an ideal opportunity to escape?

Zondi: I didn’t think of it at that time.


Daubermann: Lusanda (Solani) ran affairs at the house?

Zondi: Correct

Daubermann: Was she living there?

Zondi: Correct, with her kids.

Lusanda Solani, 36, one of the co-accused, allegedly recruited girls. Solani was almost eight months pregnant when she was arrested.


Zondi to Daubermann: Sir,  you clearly don’t understand the effect of trauma on the person, that is clear to me.


Daubermann: Did you want to leave?

Zondi: Yes, I did. I didn’t want to go to Durban

Daubermann: So why didn’t you just walk out of the house?

Zondi: I didn’t have the means. This man had a psychological hold on me.


Daubermann: Why didn’t you escape before that?

Zondi: I needed to come up with a plan, I needed to think about how I was going to go about doing it.

I needed money.



Ahead of resuming the cross-examiation, Judge Makaula tells Zondi he knows it is not easy for her and if she needs time she must say so. He adds that the end is in sight for her.


Court resumes.

When the #MeToo movement is seemingly centred around mainly white, American women, the reality of our own societies and the reality of why women here cannot openly speak up about what’s been done to their bodies and psyches makes the beacon of hope look very dim when it reaches our shores.

This is why Cheryl Zondi testifying against Timothy Omotoso is indescribably significant to South African women.



On Monday, Daubermann made several claims implying that Zondi was a willing participant in the rape and molestation she allegedly suffered at the hands of Omotoso, saying she had options to leave or report what happened to her at the time.

Judge Mandela Makaula repeatedly objected to Daubermann’s line of questioning of the witness.

“Can’t you work out the exact time?” shouted Daubermann in apparent frustration during Monday’s court sitting at Zondi’s failure to remember the dates on which she was raped.

Zondi said she could not remember because she suffered from severe depression and that it had affected her memory.


Court adjourned for a while to allow for Zondi to gain composure.

Set to be back at 11:15


Zondi explains:

I was keeping contact with Lulu, who was keeping tabs on him for him,

I kept the money to use for a meter cab to take me to where the cousin was,

On the night when she told me that they were going to leave soon, I had already started packing my things.

I threw my bag outside the bathroom window, from upstairs, I took my toiletries last, leaving a lot of my clothes in one of the other closets in the house.


Zondi details her the night she managed to escape from the house:

She made use of the R300 Omotoso gave her to do her hair. She instead chose to save it for the day she escapes.

Zondi says she wanted everyone to be asleep when she escaped, however, there was one woman in the house who was awake.


Zondi tells the court that Omotoso would say “This March girl is fire, fire”, meaning “she was the best in bed”, as she was born in March.


Zondi escaped on August 3, she previously told the court, exiting through a window. 


Daubermann asks Zondi what made her decide to leave, she responds by saying:

I was tired of pleasing this man. He was harassing me non-stop about not pleasing him sexually. He wanted to feel wanted by a teenager. He would rebuke me.


Daubermann: Did you ever massage Omotoso’s feet?

Zondi: Yes


Daubermann asks Zondi why she did not tell the cops that Omotoso reclined on the couch with his private parts out, says she mentioned it to the Hawks.


Daubermann refers to an email addressed to Fezeka, Zondi confirms that she knows Fezeka.

Zondi previously testified that while on her way to Durban as a 13-year-old, she received a call from “Fezeka”, identified as one of the women in Omotoso’s inner circle.

Zondi said Fezeka gave her instructions on what she would do when she arrived in Durban.

“You will find a cab waiting for you at the station and it will bring you to the house, it is paid for,” Fezeka allegedly said.


Timothy Omotoso’s lawyer Peter Daubermann continues cross-examination.


Omotoso Trial: Badgering, heated exchanges between lawyer, witness and judge

Rape accused Timothy Omotoso’s lawyer Peter Daubermann had heated exchanges with both presiding Judge Mandela Makaula and witness Cheryl Zondi during cross-examination in court A of the Eastern Cape High Court in Port Elizabeth on Monday.

Daubermann had made several claims implying that Zondi, 22, was a willing participant in the rape and molestation she allegedly suffered at the hands of Omotoso.

The lawyer said Zondi had options to leave or report what happened to her at the time.”Why didn’t you tell your mother?” he asked.


Omotoso Trial: ‘I wanted to shield her’ – Cheryl’s proud dad surprises her in court

It was an emotional moment in the Eastern Cape High Court as father and daughter embraced when witness Cheryl Zondi walked in and found her father in the public gallery for the trial of pastor Timothy Omotoso.

Mxolisi Zondi, the father of the first witness in trial of the pastor charged with rape, arrived in the Port Elizabeth court unexpectedly on Tuesday morning.

Zondi said he had a difficult time watching his daughter being grilled and victimised by Omotoso’s lawyer.


We would be at his mercy’ – witness on living in rape-accused Omotoso’s house

The first witness in the Timothy Omotoso trial says up to 30 girls were given nicknames and referred to as “wives” when they stayed in the rape-accused pastor’s Umhlanga Rocks house in Durban.

Cheryl Zondi told the court on Wednesday that before she left the house for the last time in 2013, she had been kept in the room next door to his main bedroom.

“The girls who lived there were given a nickname and we were called his ‘wives’,” the young Zondi said when she took the stand in the trial in the Eastern Cape High Court in Port Elizabeth.


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