Sister testifies at commission investigating sex abuse allegations
THE Commission for the Promotion and Protection of the Rights of Cultural Religious and Linguistic Communities (CRL Rights Commission), investigating allegations of sexual abuse, rape, money laundering and exploitation against Bishop Bafana Zondo, is worried witnesses won’t appear to give testimony.
The CRL Rights Commission hearings were held in Braamfontein last week, where several witnesses pulled out while others did not turn up.
On Tuesday, two witnesses turned up, and on Wednesday only two of six. Those who didn’t make it also failed to inform the commission about their reasons for abstaining.
One of the victims of alleged sexual abuse asked to testify in camera while another did so via phone.
When asked about the cancellations by the witnesses, CRL Rights chairperson Prof David Luka Mosoma played down the issue of intimidation.
“From the report I received from the co-ordinators, some of them promised that they were on their way and some decided to close their telephones completely.
“So we can only guess that something may have happened, but what it is we don’t know.”
Zondo’s sister, Khabonina Zondo, who testified about her brother’s “ungodly activities”, told the commission that he was a “murderer and a rapist” and had allegedly raped many children. She said when he prayed for female congregates, they would wake up naked and he would make them feel as if it was their fault .
Maqala Konote appeared at the commission and claimed that his marriage had allegedly been broken up by the bishop. He said his ex-wife is still a member of the church and sits on five different committees and, as a result, spent a lot of time at the church.
Konote said he had several confrontations with his wife about Zondo.
At some point, it became physical, which landed him behind bars. He said he saw messages between his ex-wife and Zondo. He shared some of the explicit messages in which Zondo allegedly asked for sex and, eventually, his ex-wife sent him naked pictures.
Kenote said he called Zondo and asked for a meeting between the men and their spouses. He said Zondo told him that his ex-wife was the one following him, and his wife also confirmed that she was the one following the clergyman.
The couple subsequently divorced. Asked to explain the sexual abuses allegedly committed by Zondo, Reverend Andile Mali, who was Zondo’s right-hand man, said the bishop’s alleged sexual abuses were not caused by “lust”, but was a sacrifice to the powers that he served.
“No men can hit (have sex with) five women in one day. No, no, no, but he can hit five to 10 because the strong man, the owner of the kingdom he serves, he is the one who is taking power from women’s wombs.
“It is more of a sacrifice. The kingdom knows which women need to be sacrificed,” said Mali, who described Zondo as a danger to society.
Zondo did not respond to questions sent to him on the allegations levelled against him. However, when speaking to our sister publication The Star, Zondo said he believed he had already been judged before even appearing at the commission.
He said he did not know if the hearing was an investigation or an exposé, but would wait for an invite from the commission to appear before it.
The commission, however, confirmed that a letter had already been sent to Zondo and said if he refused to appear, the commission would send a summons.
Mosoma said this week the commission would hear from the people who had allegations levelled against them during the hearings, and two people will provide insight into the allegations of witchcraft and “evil spirits”.
He added that those witnesses who require socio-psycho assistance will be assisted by the Psychology Association of SA.