Omotoso trial: Chaos erupts as crowd chases defence lawyer outside High Court
Chaos erupted outside the Eastern Cape High Court in Port Elizabeth on Wednesday, as supporters of the first witness in the trial of pastor Timothy Omotoso chased after his defence attorney.
Political parties - including the ANC, EFF and DA - came to the defence of witness Cheryl Zondi after court adjourned on Wednesday, singing songs of support.
Other supporters bayed for defence advocate Peter Daubermann’s blood as he left the court building.
Police vans had to rescue Daubermann after a group of women and men chased him. The crowd threw water at him, as he raced away.
Daubermann then stood his ground in an attempt to challenge the crowd, asking: "Who did that?"
When he saw that the crowd was not relenting, Daubermann doubled backed and raced towards his car, already surrounded by three police vans.
The crowd continued to chant "stand in defence of Cheryl", as Daubermann left the area.
Around the corner, one of pastors from Omotoso's Jesus Dominion International (JDI) church, who had been filming the crowd, met a similar fate. His phone was snatched away from him and thrown away.
He then grabbed the woman from the crowd who had taken the phone from his hand.
At the gates of the court, a stand-off was underway between Omotoso supporters and crowd that identified themselves as #TotalShutdown, in support of Zondi.
'We are coming for you, we will show you'
Insults were exchanged between the opposing sides, who were both waiting for the exit of Omotoso's wife, Taiwo.
Minutes passed before she was able to leave the building, escorted by a wall of security guards.
Another supporter of Omotoso, Zoleka Ncapayi, who has been consistently present in the court next to Taiwo, became a target of the crowds, who sang songs quoting her name.
"When are you going to service the victims you are employed to service," shouted the crowds.
"Why are you supporting a man who is raping girls?"
"We are coming for you, we will show you," they screamed.
Ncapayi is a social worker in Port Elizabeth, and also an ardent supporter of Omotoso’s church.
The crowd banged the bonnet and sides of her car as she climbed in.
Singing struggle songs, they vowed that they would follow her to her place of employment, where they promised they would chase her away for supporting Omotoso.
'I had to put up a front to please Omotoso'
All the drama outside court followed yet another grilling of Zondi by the defence. She broke down once more during her last grilling on the stand.
Zondi has gained much respect from the public following her firm testimony in the face of aggressive cross-examination from Daubermann.
She spoke of how she was trapped in the Omotoso mission house in Durban, after she went back to find closure in 2015, and how she had "put up a front" to please Omotoso.
Daubermann took her through photo evidence, saying she appeared to be happy in the photos.
He also grilled her about why she had let slip so many opportunities, and didn’t escape from a house she wasn’t safe in.
She said she did not initially trust the police enough to approach them.
Zondi stayed in the mission house in Umhlanga between May and August 2015, before she made her escape.
The trial will continue on Monday next week.