Bishop Bafana Stephen Zondo of Rivers of Living Waters Church has found himself accused of sexual abuse, rape, money laundering and exploitation when the Commission for the Promotion and Protection of the Rights of Cultural Religious and Linguistic Communities met to hear from his victims on Tuesday.
The accusations were made by seven members, including the church leader’s sister, who appeared before the commission which is currently investigating the church following complaints that were brought before it by victims and congregants.
The Bishop’s sister accused him of being a murderer and rapist who preys on young children.
“He’s a murderer and a rapist, he has raped a lot of children in the church. When he prays for you, you’ll wake up naked and he will make it seem like it’s your fault,” the Bishop’s sister Khabonina Zondo said.
She revealed that her family is gifted in seeing thing supernaturally, and she had seen her brother’s evil intentions and deeds.
Another relative Meisie Reaname told the commission that Zondo took advantage of her and raped her
The same assertion was corroborated by one Sibongile Mofokeng, a congregant, who also accused the Bishop of raping her by taking advantage of her.
Reaname told the Commission that she was raped when she was seven, while bishop Zondo was already in his late teens.
She said she once lived with Zondo in Vaal after they visited his family and stayed for a few months with her mom who had just given birth.
“I remember we were playing in the yard with my friends and he (Zondo) called me inside the house to come to wash his socks. When I got to the bathroom there were no socks. I waited for him to bring the socks but he came back a few minutes later and called me to the bedroom that belonged to our grandmother,” Reaname said.
“As I lay on the bed, he removed his pants and I remember clearly he was wearing blue underwear. He removed his underwear and applied Vaseline on my genitals as well as his and proceeded to rape me,” Reaname said.
She managed to run away after being raped three times.
She was coming out of an abusive relationship and sort to heal while attending the church.
“The day I went to the church, I was made to wait in the room and then one usher came in and told me to undress so that they could lather me with the anointing oil. I was shocked but I undressed,” Mofokeng said.
She went on to start dream having sexual encounters with Zondo, and claims she was raped at Formula 1 Hotel in Southgate and was given R75 000 for her silence.
Sizakele Poophedi, the church’s secretary, compounded Zondo’s problems when she claimed the church was involved in money laundering and fraudulent activities.
“There is money laundering fraudulence. The church has many financial streams that brought money to the church through fundraising but the money does not go to the church but to Zondo’s pockets.
“Zondo has made the church his cash cow, which he uses to fund his lifestyle and his family,” Poophedi said.
The hearings will continue on Wednesday and Zondo will be given a chance to respond to the allegations levied against him.