Congregants camp outside court, pray for Zondo’s acquittal

While the high court in Pretoria was sitting for cross-examination of a witness in the case of controversial Bishop Bafana Zondo, his followers were camping outside, praying.

The congregants of Rivers of Living Waters Ministries, a church founded by Zondo in 1988 in Sebokeng in the Vaal, turned out in big numbers for their leader’s trial on Friday.

Dressed in red T-shirts and carrying placards reading “hands off Archbishop Zondo”, they prayed in spiritual tongues and sang non-stop, calling for a higher power to save their leader who is accused of rape.

In the dock, a witness who identified herself as a friend of a woman allegedly raped by Zondo said she visited the church about five times.

On the day her friend was raped, she told the court, she thought Zondo was delivering her from demons.

“I heard her scream from the back office of the bishop, and I thought it was a deliverance session and that the demons were leaving her body,” she testified.

She told the court that the woman had gone to Zondo’s office with him alone, and when she came out, she looked tired and demanded that they leave.

Zondo also came out of the office to greet her, she testified, saying the bishop’s hands were oily.

She testified: “When I got home, she called and said she has something to tell me, that’s when she told me that Zondo raped her while she was in his office.

“I asked if she had told the older women in church, and she said no, because there were no women she could talk to [about what had happened to her].”

The witness admitted to consuming two cans of Guarana, an alcoholic drink, before they went to the church.

Zondo’s lawyer advocate Piet Pistorious told the courtroom that the witness was not telling the truth, saying the alcohol she consumed made her believe that she was hearing screams inside Zondo’s office.

Zondo is accused of raping seven women and trying to bribe one of them to drop the charges. In total, he faces 10 charges including rape, indecent assault and defeating the ends of justice.

It is alleged that the crimes started in the 1980s and continued until 2018. The court has postponed the matter to June 5. 


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