Pretoria – A woman who described her role in the Rivers of Living Waters Church as a “prayer warrior” told the Gauteng High Court, Pretoria, that the day their leader Bishop Bafana Stephen Zondo “shoved his private part into her mouth, she could see he is not a man of God.”
The alleged victim, who claimed that Zondo sexually violated her in December 2018 in an office at the church, was for the second day grilled by the bishop’s advocate about her allegations.
The elegant looking woman, who is highly qualified and is a state employee, earlier broke down as she testified that while Zondo prayed for her in his office, she felt him shoving his private part into her mouth.
Defence advocate Piet Pistorius SC, told the witness that her allegations were simply not true. He accused her of being part of a group who did everything in their power to discredit Zondo, as they wanted to start a new church.
Pistorius said that according to Zondo, the group – in which the woman was said to be very active – tried to recruit members of his church to join the church they wanted to establish. Thus, Pistorius said, they did everything in their might to cast Zondo in a bad light.
The woman, who may not be identified, testified that Zondo gave her and other “prayer warriors” at his church a list of names of people who caused trouble, and who needed to be prayed for.
Pistorius said Zondo would deny this, but the woman said the list of names included his competitors in the church business, such as Shepherd Bushiri. Pistorius said he was very glad that she had mentioned this. “This is exactly what this case is about.”
Pistorius said the Rivers of Living Waters Church was very big – both within South Africa and outside its borders. At any given time there are at least 5 000 people attending a service on a Sunday.
Those attending the services included high ranking politicians and celebrities, he said. A top politician, whose name he will not mention at this stage, frequented the church which Zondo heads.
“I put it to you that jealousy of the accused and his church is rife,” Pistorius said. He noted that Zondo managed to build a huge church from very small beginnings.
“Let me be very straight with you. You and others worked actively to bring division within the church, as you and others planned to start a new church. He (Zondo) not only has a large following, but the church is extremely well off, financially,” he said.
Pistorius added that the alleged victim worked actively with others, to bring Zondo and his church down, by causing division within his church.
The witness denied this and said she had no desire to start her own church.
Pistorius earlier questioned the woman as to why she only decided to open a case of sexual abuse against Zondo three years after the alleged incident.
She replied that she decided to speak out after she was summoned before the Commission for the Promotion and Protection of the Rights of Cultural, Religious and Linguistic Communities. The commission was investigating similar claims, and the woman said her name somehow came up.
“After I appeared before the commission, I realised I also need justice.”
Zondo earlier pleaded not guilty to 10 charges of a sexual nature, where mostly members of his flock claimed that he had either raped them or sexually violated them.
– Pretoria News