Eastern Cape ‘apostle’ who raped, trafficked women sentenced to six life terms

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Eastern Cape 'apostle' who raped, trafficked women sentenced to six life terms
Eastern Cape 'apostle' who raped, trafficked women sentenced to six life terms

Africa-Press – South-Africa. A man who raped and trafficked women, was sentenced to six life imprisonment terms in the Eastern Cape High Court sitting in Mbizana on Wednesday.

Hlumelo Dywili, 35, was also sentenced to five years for forcing one of the women to witness a rape. This sentence will run concurrently with the life imprisonment terms.

According to National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) spokesperson Luxolo Tyali, Dywili lured women under the pretences of being a healer.

“Dywili, a singer and lay-pastor from Mandela’s location in the district of Mthatha, who purported to be on a mission to heal sick people and secure jobs, also had a business selling products carrying his identity as the logo,” said Tyali.

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“He sold the products at roadshows around the eastern part of the Eastern Cape and had a base in Mbizana. Between July and August 2021, he used Facebook and Inkonjane Community Radio to advertise his businesses. He used false testimonies from people claiming to have been helped by him.”

He first raped a 17-year-old epileptic teenager in 2020. She had been brought by her parents for healing. Dywili sent her parents to buy “healing materials” and while they were away, he raped her. The teen reported the rape to her mother.

Dywili was released on bail.

The three women he raped in 2021 were aged between 23 and 25. They were isolated in his base in Mbizana.

One of them had responded to a Facebook post in which he claimed to heal people and find them jobs.

The woman was from Komani but was living in Cape Town.

Tyali said: “Dywili promised her a job and purchased a bus ticket for her travel. Upon her arrival, he raped her in his car at his home in Mthatha before isolating her to his base in Mbizana the following day. In Mbizana, she found two more victims who had also been lured to his base with promises of job offers.”

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Tyali added that the three women, who had become financially dependent on him, were threatened with a knife he kept under his pillow. They were also subjected to his heavy drinking and violence. He raped them repeatedly and on one occasion, forced one to watch him rape the two women.

“Contrary to what would be expected of an apostle, Dywili drank heavily, became violent and threatened the women, aged between 23 and 25 years, with a knife that he kept under the pillow of his bed,” said Tyali.

He was rearrested in 2021 after the women escaped with the help of neighbours.

Tyali said the “apostle” denied any wrongdoing, claiming the women were his girlfriends, and the sex was consensual.

His ex-wife claimed she had never been suspicious of his behavior, but her evidence did not hold.

“Noting that Dywili’s ex-wife was not a satisfactory witness, Judge Richard Brooks agreed with the prosecutor’s submission that Dywili was not remorseful and had used his position of trust as a pastor to prey on desperate young women. He found no compelling circumstances to deviate from the prescribed minimum sentence of life [in jail] for the offences,” said Tyali.

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