A pastor was sentenced sternly for sexual misconduct

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A pastor was sentenced sternly for sexual misconduct

Lieutenant General Semakaleng Daphney Manamela, the Provincial Commissioner of the SAPS in
Mpumalanga, has praised the harsh punishment issued to Pastor John Philani Masilela (46). On
Friday, September 1, 2023, he was sentenced by the Kwamhlanga Regional Court for a number of
sexual offences.


Masilela who assaulted teenage boys and young men in his church while praying for them was
sentenced to 55 years in jail after being convicted of four counts of rape and seven counts of sexual
assault.


John Philane Masilela, 46, committed the offences between 2012 and 2018 when he was a pastor at
the Good Shepherd Church. His seven victims were aged between 17 and 26. 


According to Mpumalanga National Prosecuting Authority spokesperson Monica Nyuswa, Masilela
portrayed himself as a prophet of God at his church in Suncity, KwaMhlanga
Nyuswa said Masilela would pray for his victims while touching their private parts, under the pretext
of preventing them from leading immoral lives. 


“He told the victims that he could see their future and had received instructions from God to pray
for them in that manner,” Nyuswa said.
“He also told them that if they refused (that he fiddled with them), bad things would happen to
them.”


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 that 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 May 2020 and subsequently charged with multiple
counts of rape, sexual assault as well as child pornography.
He was arrested and pleaded not guilty, claiming his victims had consented.
However, prosecutor Bianca Harmse gave testimony from seven victims who described how Masilela
would use Bible verses and claim that he needed to pray for their private parts by stroking or sucking
them to keep them from being with the wrong lady.


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 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.