Bishop Zondo responds to harrowing allegations: "I don't have to rape anyway. I have a wife, free of charge"

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Controversial church leader of Rivers of Living Waters Ministries Bishop Stephen Bafana Zondo.
Controversial church leader of Rivers of Living Waters Ministries Bishop Stephen Bafana Zondo.
Sowetan / Thulani Mbele

Rivers of Living Waters Ministries church leader Archbishop Stephen Bafana Zondo has been accused of many ungodly deeds. From rape to manipulation and witchcraft, the Evaton church leader has been facing some serious allegations for years now.

On Sunday, he appeared on Moja Love talk show, Amabishop to give his side of the story after damning testimonies were heard at The Commission for the Promotion and Protection of the Rights of Cultural, Religious and Linguistic Communities (CRL Rights Commission) hearings that have been ongoing since November 2020. 

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"How many prostitutes do we have in the country?" he asks the host, Nimrod Nkosi as he responds to rape accusations. 

"If you want to have sex with a woman, you can just buy them. You don't have to rape them. Why would I rape people God has given to me?

"I don't have to rape anyway. I have a wife, free of charge."

"If you want to have sex with a woman, you can just buy them. You don't have to rape them."
Bishop Zondo

For years, his reputation has been marred by a long list of rape allegations that have been voiced at the CRL hearings. One of the alleged victims, Meisie Reaname who is a blood relative of Zondo’s, testified at the commission that Bishop Zondo had raped her while she was still in primary school.

She detailed the first alleged rape encounter, saying she had been playing with other children when she was called inside to wash Zondo's socks. Meisie said after it happened, he would give her R1.

“He was about 19 or 20 at the time,” she said.

Earlier in the year, his younger sister, Khabonina Zondo went on Gosheletsaneng radio to express her disgust for her brother.

In a recording that's in Drum’s possession, she says, “He rapes, he is into witchcraft. When will he stop killing people? He separates people from marriages. May God forgive me but honestly, ‘abuti Fani’ is Satan. If he can sleep with his own children, he is Satan.

"My brother is an animal. He is a dog and one day, God will make him walk like a dog.”

In the radio interview, she alleges that whatever evil and cult-like behaviour he is into, it requires him to sleep around with everyone.

“If he can sleep with his own children, he is Satan. My brother is an animal."
Khabonina Zondo

Bishop Zondo has not appeared at the commission.

“I believe that my sister and the engineers of the whole thing have given the CRL all the evidence," he tells Nimrod on the show. “You can't go to these snakes when they don't invite you?”

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Christians who have been testifying against Zondo say the walls that have protected him for all these years are finally coming down.

“We are finally getting somewhere," former church leader Solly Poopedi tells Drum. "Although, it is not easy because he uses money and connections but that doesn't bother us anymore. It is over! Fortunately now we have supporting evidence from his family and relatives.”

In his testimony at the CRL in 2020, Solly said there had been an assassination attempt made against him because of being vocal about Zondo's alleged rape of young men and women within the church, fake testimonies, and money laundering.

"I am not afraid of that man. I have said it to his face," he tells us. "When I started questioning things, I was called a demon.”

This is not the first time Zondo has denied the claims against him.

In an interview with SABC in 2020, he said the aim of the commission was to destroy him, his family, the church and families of the congregants. 

"This commission has done this country an injustice because they cannot repair what they have done to this community. And already some of our members have received threats, some are going to divorce courts as we speak because how are you going to feel if you hear that I have slept with your wife?" he said.

Zondo's detractors say his chickens have come home to roost, as more witnesses are expected to give their testimonies at the commission. 

However, there are those who still hold him in high regard and, for now, it is business as usual for the bishop. His services are on televised and he has not been arrested, charged or appeared in court.

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