Popular TV presenter Bishop Israel Makamu allegedly offered R1 million to the family of a woman who claims he sexually harassed her when she was a teenager working at his church. But her father rejected the 'dirty money' because all he wanted was for him to apologise.
Makamu is the co-host of the popular and controversial TV show Rea Tsotella, which airs on Moja Love.
"He tried to bribe us with R1 million, but we don't want his dirty money. I just want him to apologise to me as a father for what he did to my daughter. He tried to threaten me and said I must do my research on him. He thought I was scared of him," the father said yesterday.
He also claimed that when the incident happened in 2017, his daughter went to the Ivory Park Police Station in Tembisa to open a case of sexual harassment, but she didn't receive any updates on the case.
The father was speaking out after a two-minute voice recording went viral on social media this week, in which someone who sounds like Makamu is heard making suggestive comments to his daughter.
In the recording, the person is heard talking to the woman, whom he refers to as "ngwanaka" (my child). She was 17 at the time. The person says he has just dropped someone off and wants to pass by and see the woman who is heard calling him "daddy" throughout the conversation.
"O tlo mpha? [will you give me" he asks, to which the woman replies: "No, daddy." Then he says: "Wa bora, wa bora, ngwanaka [you are boring, my child]."
After the audio clip went viral early this week, Makamu claimed that it was the family that demanded a payment from him to make the recording disappear.
"Bishop Makamu says the lady in the recording worked for him and their conversation was not sexual in any manner and it was altered to extort money from him," Moja Love said in a statement on Tuesday.
"He says he thought the matter had been resolved back then, but it suddenly emerged again three weeks ago. Bishop Makamu suspects his character is being assassinated," Moja Love said.
Yesterday, the father said his daughter had been struggling to cope since the audio clip surfaced.
"She is not okay after all this. It has disturbed her a lot. She even quit going to church."
The father said they tried to report the matter to the Commission for the Promotion and Protection of the Rights of Cultural, Religious and Linguistic Communities and at Luthuli House, the ANC's headquarters. They even took the recording to a popular radio station in Johannesburg, but nothing came of these efforts. Now they are set to meet with Makamu's employer, Moja Love, at its head office in Braamfontein in Johannesburg tomorrow.
On Friday, the 21-year-old woman, whose identity is being withheld, claimed in an interview with the Movement Against Abuse in Church founder Solomon Ashoms that the Rea Tsotella TV show host sexually harassed her at his church in Eden Park, Alberton, four years ago.
In the YouTube interview, the woman, who was a receptionist, administrator and call centre agent at Makamu's church in 2017, alleged that she received a call from the pastor asking her to collect the office keys from him at the robots between Eden Park and Thokoza.
"I went to the car and stood by the driver's side and he said I must get inside the car; he will drop me off.
"He started saying he loves me … He drove with me to the church. I was nervous and asked myself what we were doing at the church," the woman claimed.
She said that Makamu then made sexual advances and she ran away.
The woman, who was sharing a rented room with a friend who also worked at Makamu's church, said she was 17 at the time and had no boyfriend. She said she had regarded Makamu as a father.
"[When] I got to my room, my roommate asked me what happened and I told her. She said I must record him next time this happens," she said.
It was on a Friday evening when the incident allegedly happened and the bishop's phone call was recorded on the Monday. The woman said she packed her belongings and went back home as she feared being victimised by Makamu. She told her father about the incident and he confronted the Endless Hope Bible Church preacher at his offices.
He offered them R1 million. My dad said no, he will never sell his daughter.
"His personal assistant took long to call him because he knew why we were there. We waited for almost two hours," she said.
She alleged that when Makamu finally showed up, he called into question the legitimacy of the audio recording. The pastor then allegedly offered her parents money. "He offered them R1 million. My dad said no, he will never sell his daughter. He then called Makamu and told him that if anything happens to me, it will be on him [Makamu]," she told Ashoms in the interview.
Attempts to get hold of Makamu proved fruitless as he did not answer his phone.
This despite his messaging on his social media pages, where he continues to share his activities, which included preaching in areas around Ivory Park, Tsakane and Alberton.
Meanwhile, Makamu stepped down on Tuesday from his duties at Moja Love after the recording went viral.
His co-host, Moshe Ndiki, will take his place until an internal investigation into Makamu's alleged conduct is completed.