The Temba Magistrate’s Court on Thursday ordered him to pay a R3 000 fine or face six months in jail, with an additional 12-month suspended sentence.
Despite being cautioned by the court to take his conviction seriously and digress for the duration of his suspended sentence, Sithole was adamant the church would continue.
“I am not doing my own thing but the work that God has called on me to do. We will just need to bring in experts to ensure that we keep the noise levels down.
“I still believe that noise caused by the bus depot, passing vehicles and flights from Wonderboom Airport were not taken into consideration when the acoustic noise levels were measured,” he said.
The pastor said he was grateful that community members who had heard about his arrest and detention started signing a petition in his support.
Sithole insisted that the main complainant said he would “kill the church” while it was still in its infancy stage. The man – who was his neighbour – said that if the church was not stopped other churches would mushroom in the community, Sithole said.
“He claimed he represented about 50 families within the community who shared his sentiments, but he lied hence the community is supporting me now.
“His actions and demeanour were racist in nature. I have been unfairly charged, convicted and detained as a result of one racist person,” he said.
Sithole said had his church been granted permission to erect a proper structure as it had requested, then the issue of noise levels would not have come this far.
However, the magistrate said the court was of the opinion that Sithole had not displayed any signs of taking responsibility for his actions or that he wanted to make amends.
“He chose to ignore repeated requests by the municipality to keep noise levels down and ignored the rights of the community. He now has a criminal record like scores of others in our communities.”
But Sithole said: “I know God will fight this spiritual battle for us. We will leave it in his hands now.”