A GOSPEL singer who claimed she too was a victim of rape by Bishop Bafana Stephen Zondo this week testified that she was sexually violated by the Rivers of Living Waters Church leader in 2008, at the Formula 1 Hotel near Southgate Mall.
The woman testified behind closed doors in the Gauteng High Court, Pretoria, following an application in this regard by the prosecution. While no reasons were given to the court as to exactly why she had to testify in camera, it is understood to be medically and stress related.
National Prosecuting Authority Gauteng spokesperson Lumka Mahanjana confirmed that the media and the public were still barred from the hearing. She supplied a short summary to the media regarding the cross-examination of the witness by Zondo’s advocate, Piet Pistorius.
Pistorius had put it to the woman that it was not Zondo who was at the Formula 1 Hotel on the day of the alleged incident. According to him, it was a wellknown gospel artist who was there.
The woman, who was apparently also one of Zondo’s flock, denied this. She said she only met the gospel singer mentioned by Pistorius in 2010 when she joined his group, while the incident occurred two years before this in 2008.
She testified that while she too was a gospel artist, she only released a CD in 2012.
According to the alleged victim, after raping her, Zondo offered her R75 000 for her silence, which she had declined. But she told the court she would have reported the matter to the police even if the accused had given her the R75 000 for her silence.
Apart from laying a criminal charge against Zondo, the woman said she also had an interview with a local radio station in 2012 where she spoke about the incident.
Pistorius, during his questioning of the witness, said she only spoke to the radio station about her allegations against Zondo because the presenter of the show agreed to promote her CD in exchange.
The woman responded that this was not true, although the show did air her song. She said when they found out that she was a gospel singer, they played her song during the interview.
It is not yet known for how long the court will remain in camera and whether any further witnesses will testify behind closed doors. This stint of what is due to be a lengthy trial, has been set down until August 5. To date, only three witnesses from a list of about 26 have taken the stand.
Zondo has from the start vehemently denied the 10 charges against him, which include rape and other sexual allegations by mainly members of his congregation.
While he did not provide an explanation for his plea, it was clear from the defence’s line of questioning of the witnesses so far that it would argue the charges were trumped up in a bid to extort money from the wealthy Zondo.
The trial matter continues.