R75,000 for having sex with Bishop Stephen Zondo in hotel: This woman is waiting for her payment

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Bishop Stephen Zondo allegedly raped a woman and told her that one of her family members would die if she told anyone, while also promising to give her R75 000 for her silence.

This was the evidence of a witness in the Gauteng High Court in Pretoria on Monday where the rape trial against Zondo continued.

It was earlier reported that the State had successfully brought an application to have the witness, who is one of Zondo's alleged victims, testify in camera.


The application effectively meant she would testify in private, with only the judge, defence team, prosecution, the accused and court officials in attendance.

However, the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) has given the media a summarised version of the witness's testimony before the court.

According to NPA spokesperson Lumka Mahanjana, the witness, who was 23 years old at the time of the incident, told the court in the summer of 2008 Zondo called her and requested a meeting.

The woman said she had known Zondo for many years as he used to visit her grandfather and was known to the family. She was not a member of his church.

After meeting and climbing into Zondo's vehicle, the woman allegedly asked where they were going but received no response.

Zondo allegedly drove the woman to a Formula 1 Hotel near Southgate Mall and booked a room.

Minutes after entering the hotel room, the woman testified, Zondo told her to undress, as he did the same. Zondo then allegedly raped her.

"After they left [the hotel], he dropped her off in Vereeniging and told her not to tell anyone. If she did, one of her family members would die," Mahanjana said.

Zondo also allegedly offered the woman R75 000. The witness told the court she never received the money.

Out of fear, the woman did not tell anyone about the alleged ordeal, but finally confided in her aunt, who questioned her about her heavy drinking.

The woman said she had started drinking heavily because of what had happened.

She testified she opened a case against Zondo in 2012 and had also given evidence at the Commission for the Promotion and Protection of the Rights of Cultural, Religious and Linguistic Communities.

INDICTMENT

The controversial Rivers of Living Waters Ministries bishop faces a string of rape charges, indecent assault and defeating the ends of justice.

It is alleged that the incidents he is accused of started in the 1980s and continued until 2018.

According to the indictment, the first count of rape dated back to 1980, when Zondo allegedly raped a minor girl in Sebokeng. It is also alleged he forced the minor to play with his penis on numerous occasions the same year.

In 2008, he allegedly raped a woman in a hotel in Johannesburg. In 2013 and 2015, he allegedly raped two more women in Evaton. It is alleged one of the women was raped on two different occasions.

In December 2015, he allegedly raped another woman in or near his church in Evaton.

He is accused of a sixth rape in 2016 and of committing a seventh two years later.

Zondo has since pleaded not guilty to all the charges.

While he did not offer a plea explanation to the court, his lawyer said that would become clear during the course of the trial.


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