Controversial Sibasa prophet Phathutshedzo Sikhubu, better known as Prophet Innocent Muritho or Ritha, appeared in court last Friday. Photo: Elmon Tshikhudo.

Prophet Muritho's nightmare continues


A month ago, controversial Sibasa prophet Phathutshedzo Sikhubu, also known as Prophet Innocent Muritho or Ritha, surprised many when he asked the nation to pray for the Thohoyandou Police Station. He claimed he had had a bad dream about the station. Now, his "prophecy" may have manifested, but in an unexpected way.

In a surprising turn of events, the controversial and flamboyant self-styled prophet was arrested by the same police station on allegations of rape. The alleged incident took place on Wednesday, 10 April, around 18:00. Sikhubu, the founder of the Faith of Talitha Koum Ministry at Sibasa, was arrested the following day and appeared in Thohoyandou Magistrate’s Court on Friday, 12 April.

After a brief appearance, his case was postponed to Thursday, 18 April, for a formal bail application. During the brief court appearance, Sikhubu was also revealed to be facing another pending rape case in Cape Town. 

Muritho's formal bail application on 18 April could not, however, proceed as there was no water at the court. It was postponed until Tuesday, 23 April, with no guarantee that the application will be heard, as the court roll is very congested. A very disappointed Muritho returned to the holding cells after a short talk with his legal representative.

Sikhubu is the second high-profile pastor in Vhembe to be arrested this year on allegations of rape. In January, popular musician and pastor Bishop Roxley Masevhe was arrested on a charge of raping a 19-year-old girl over the course of a year. Masevhe is currently out on R20,000 bail.

Regarding Prophet Muritho's case, the rape allegedly occurred during a braai where friends and the girl enjoyed drinks and meat at his house in Tswinga, outside Thohoyandou. His wife was reportedly not present during the incident.

The 20-year-old girl asked to use the bathroom, which Muritho showed her, located in his main bedroom. While she was inside, he allegedly followed her and forced her into his bedroom, where he raped her.

The girl reported the rape the following day, and the prophet was arrested at his home the same day.

The arrest occurred just a week after Prophet Muritho was involved in a near-fatal car accident. A head-on collision involving his Mercedes-Benz and a police van left three police officers seriously injured. The accident took place on the R524 road at Tshisahulu on Saturday, 6 April.

The 19-year-old female passenger in Muritho’s vehicle was also seriously injured. After the accident, rumours circulated on social media that the prophet had been under the influence of alcohol and had fled the scene. Muritho denied all the allegations.

However, Muritho is no stranger to controversy. In 2021, Muritho, also a businessman, raised eyebrows when he posted a series of compromising videos on social media while allegedly intoxicated. In the videos, he boasted to friends about his sexual escapades.

These postings were condemned by his church members and the community. Under mounting pressure, he publicly apologised to his congregation and the community at large.

In another controversial incident in July last year, he hosted a luxurious and costly birthday party for his dog, Jackie, who turned seven. The party took place at his church premises in Sibasa. A cow was slaughtered for the guests who filled the church.

The party has since become an annual event, and this year's party will be different as guests are requested to bring their own dogs.

News - Date: 19 April 2024

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Elmon Tshikhudo

Elmon Tshikhudo started off as a photographer. He developed an interest in writing and started submitting articles to local as well as national publications. He became part of the Limpopo Mirror family in 2005 and was a permanent part of the news team until 2019.