The conviction of an Mpumalanga rapist pastor a step in the right direction

Sonke Gender Justice welcomes the stiff judgment of an Mpumalanga pastor, John Masilela who sexually abused teenage boys from his congregation for nearly eight years. The conviction of a 55 year sentence on four counts of rape and seven counts of sexual assault, serves as a testament that no one is above the law, and that those in positions of trust such as religious leaders will be held accountable when they violate that trust. The courage of a 16 year old boy, who broke his silence about the sexual abuse he endured at the hands of Pastor Masilela, was the catalyst that brought more victims forward to share their ordeals.

‘’The sentencing of this Pastor should send a clear message that anyone who harms children must be held accountable for their actions. We hope that the judgement will encourage other victims to report perpetrators. It’s important to support survivors and create a safe space for all, no one should suffer in silence and justice must prevail’’ said Bafana Khumalo, Sonke Gender Justice’ Co-Executive Director and Co-Chairperson of the Global MenEngage Alliance.

Issued by Sonke Gender Justice.

For media enquiries contact:

Kgomotso Mophulane, Communications & Strategic Information Manager, Sonke Gender Justice on or 0835196187.

Bafana Khumalo, Co-Executive Director, Sonke Gender Justice and Co-Chairperson, Global MenEngage Alliance: or 082 5784479.

Note to editors

Sonke is a South African-based non-profit organisation working throughout Africa. We believe women and men, girls and boys can work together to resist patriarchy, advocate for gender justice, and achieve gender transformation. For media releases, reports and news visit and