South Africa, Johannesburg – Bishop Bafana Stephen Zondo of the Rivers of Living Waters Ministries has taken his battle with the Commission for the Promotion and Protection of the Rights of Cultural Religious and Linguistic Communities (CRL Commission) to Parliament, accusing it of “violating his rights”.
Zondo said he has lodged a complaint with the Speaker of Parliament, Thandi Modise against the commissioners and its chairperson, David Mosoma during a media briefing in Robertsham, south of Joburg on Friday.
Zondo was responding to the CRL Commission’s investigations into allegations of sexual abuse, rape, money laundering and exploitation that Zondo allegedly committed with other leaders of his church.
Among his complaints were that various witnesses at the commission accused him and his church of practising witchcraft, of being “a murderer, that he practices a cult, is a rapist, and corrupt clergymen who bribe law enforcement (officers)”.
He emphasised that his church was built on “a solid foundation of respect, integrity, and trust”, and was “committed to creating and fostering an environment that promotes integrity”.
He stressed that sexual harassment and abuse of any kind was not tolerated in his church.
“We are deeply concerned about what we are hearing and expect a full and independent investigation of what transpired.
“We expect the church to take swift action upon completion of the investigation against any transgressions while taking measures to protect the women complainants and all who come forward to report transgressions.
“And any evidence of criminal misconduct should also be reported to the authorities,” said the charismatic leader.
The self-acclaimed archbishop said all the allegations made against him and his church were “inaccurate statements and unfounded, baseless and unsubstantiated”.
Zondo was asked about specific allegations which this publication reported on, such as Maqala Konote’s marriage and how it was broken by the bishop when Konote allegedly found explicit WhatsApp messages, and his wife sending naked pictures to the bishop.
He denied the allegation and said when people fail to fix their marriages, they want to blame him. He added that he wasn’t aware whether the couple was now divorced or not.
“In fact, in my church, I encourage marriage … and I am married, too,” he explained while vehemently denying allegations of intimidation.
Asked about Zondo’s complaint to Modise, Spokesperson for Parliament Moloto Mothapo said: “No, no record of complaint has been received yet.”
Meanwhile, the CRL chairperson, David Masoma, confirmed receipt of Zondo’s letter and said the commission was going to apply its mind and respond appropriately to the media in due course.
On Monday, testimony was heard from Jay Israel, a former pastor of Spirit Life Mega Church, who confessed to being a “fake prophet”.
In his testimony, he said most of the “miracles” performed on television by prophets were stage-managed.