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Provincial Commissioner welcomes a hefty sentence imposed upon a pastor for sexual offences


Media Statement
South African Police Service
Office of the Provincial Commissioner Mpumalanga

NELSPRUIT - The Provincial Commissioner of the SAPS in Mpumalanga, Lieutenant General Semakaleng Daphney Manamela has welcomed a hefty sentence imposed upon a Pastor by the name of John Philani Masilela (46). He was sentenced on Friday, 01 September 2023, by the Kwamhlanga Regional Court for a series of sexual related offences.

The court heard how the accused sexually abused about eight teenage boys from his congregation between the year 2012 and 2020. The ages of the victims range between 15 and 20 years.

One of the young boys, aged 16, broke the silence in May 2020 when he informed his parents about the ordeal and that was when his elder brother also attested that he too was victimised by Masilela.

The matter was reported to the Police that month (May 2020). Members of the Family Violence, Child Protection and Sexual Offences Unit (FCS) at Kwamhlanga were assigned to probe these atrocious acts. It was during the investigation when it transpired that six other members of the same church were sexually abused by him as well. Additional cases from the other victims were then added against the accused as the victims came forward. Thanks to the boy who took the brave step to come forward encouraged his fellow peers to also break their silence about their ordeal.

John Philani Masilela (46) was then arrested in the same month of May 2020 and subsequently charged for multiple counts of rape, sexual assault as well as child pornography.

He was taken to court and because of the overwhelming evidence presented by the State against him, he was convicted hence sentenced as follows:

Masilela was handed 10 years’ imprisonment on each of the four counts of rape. He was further sentenced to five years’ imprisonment for each of the seven counts of sexual assault.

The court ordered that for each count of rape will be coupled with a count of sexual assault meanwhile the remaining three counts of sexual assault will run separately. This implies that the accused will serve an effective 55 years’ behind bars.

However, the accused was acquitted on four counts of pornography or sexual exploitation.

The Provincial Commissioner of the SAPS in Mpumalanga, Lieutenant General Semakaleng Daphney Manamela applauded the investigation team for the job well done and further admired with much appreciation the hard work by the Prosecution team as well as the Judiciary which culminated into the hefty sentence imposed upon the accused. "We hope that the sentence will send a strong message to those who abuse children that it is just a matter of time before they are caught. This should also encourage other victims to break the silence and report the perpetrators. What disturbs the most is the fact that in this instance the young ones were victimised by someone who was regarded as a person who was supposed to shield them as a pastor, “said the General.


Colonel Donald Mdhluli
082 608 6540


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