A Durban-based pastor at the centre of sexual assault allegations has been arrested by the Hawks in Port Elizabeth.

The Nigerian televangelist is alleged to have molested and raped at least 30 young women who went to his church.

The 58-year-old self-proclaimed prophet has been investigated by the Hawks for months after taking statements from multiple victims some of whom are minors.

Hawks spokesperson Robert Netshiunda says the man was arrested shortly after landing at the Port Elizabeth airport.

“The suspect has been charged trafficking in persons because we alleged that he has been trafficking girls and young women branches of his church to a residence in Umhlanga in KwaZulu-Natal where he would allegedly assault them sexually.”

The Hawks have confirmed the rape accused pastor is also facing charges of human trafficking.

Netshiunda said: “Human trafficking is an organised crime and it usually entails more than one charge. But now we have tied in 'in persons' with the possibility of us adding more charges.”