LETTER TO THE EDITOR | KwaSizabantu Mission: Questions that need to be answered

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KwaSizabantu Mission invited members who claim to have suffered abuse at the church to come forward.
KwaSizabantu Mission invited members who claim to have suffered abuse at the church to come forward.

Peet Botha writes that there are several questions that need to be answered by KwaSizabantu Mission following the exposé into the mission by several media organisations. 

The revelations concerning KwaSizabantu Mission (KSB) have brought some very disturbing questions to the surface that begs the proverbial answer.

Reading about the KwaSizabantu Mission issues in the newspapers and on the internet, there are some obvious questions that need to be answered in a transparent way. Only the leadership of KwaSizabantu Mission can answer these questions and it is important that they do so publicly and without delay.

To my mind, it should not be at all difficult for KwaSizabantu Mission to settle matters by giving answers to the questions raised due to the revelations by various entities.

I refer to the investigative work and reporting of News24, Maroela Media, Rapport, Natal Witness, Mike Bolhuis (private investigator), KSB-Alert.com, current cases registered with the SAPS and Hawks, books written by Albert Pilon and myself, and many more.

It should be quite easy for a Christian organisation to openly confess and answer questions (including the ones below) if they are true to their word and their intention is to be "transparent" as Ruth Combrink, General Manager of aQuellé and Member of Management at KSB assured all in a public media statement.

Thousands of KSB Church members and the South African public at large are still totally in the dark as to these matters.

I urge the current management of KSB to come clean, therefore, on the following matters with a parallel media briefing and show their intention to be transparent, open and accountable.

The management of KSB should keep in mind the multiple people who have come forward with affidavits, submissions and speaking openly about these matters in public and to the CRL Rights Commission, SA Human Rights Commission, SAPS and Hawks. So, KSB, please answer the following questions:

1. Was it the practice at KSB at a given time to punish children by hitting them with electrical or plumbing plastic conduit piping?

2. Was virginity testing done only to black girls (cultural practice) or did white girls also undergo virginity testing (underlying Mission policy for all girls)?

3. A young woman was allegedly raped by two men at the Mission. However, she was not believed because she did not report it immediately and did not call out for help when raped. Her counsellor told her she should have cried out for help during the rape because that is the teaching of the Bible. This young woman is today a broken person and a shadow of her previous self. How many girls and young women have been raped at KwaSizabantu since 1980 to the knowledge of the leadership?

4. KwaSizabantu Mission has opened a case against one man for sexual misconduct in July 2019 and he is currently in jail awaiting trial. In how many of the rape cases reported to the leadership of KwaSizabantu did the Mission, likewise, open cases at the SAPS against the alleged perpetrators?

READ | Exodus: The case of the missing millions: Hawks investigating financial fraud at mission Kwasizabantu

5. Why was it necessary for the Mission to transfer R136 million in cash packed in bags, boxes and cooler boxes in secret to drop points along the N3, Rand Airport, Wonderboom Airport and other places? This fact is well supported by multiple witnesses including some of the couriers who delivered the money to a person called "Ndlela". Why did KSB not use normal business practices like EFT transfers with full paper-trail accountability to do such transactions?

6. Who is "Ndlela", the man who received all this cash in person? According to multiple reports the person by this name does not exist. Why would KSB grant a fictitious person a loan of R136 million?

7. What happened to the cash after "Ndlela" received it? According to the media statement of Mike Bolhuis, "Ndlela" said to the private investigating team, that the money was returned to Lidia Dube at KwaSizabantu Mission after he subtracted his commission as go-between courier. Is this indeed what happened?

8. Where is the R136 million now?

9. Surely the five trustees of Mission KwaSizabantu, a PBO organisation, have authorised the spending of this money. Would the trustees be prepared to issue a media statement to explain the "intended use" of the R136 million? The trustees being: Erlo Stegen, Friedel Stegen, Lidia Dube, Eunice Ngcamo & Arno Stegen. For example – three trustees, Erlo Stegen, Lidia Dube and Eunice Ngcamo authorised the "loan" of R136 million to "Ndlela" with no signed contract by "Ndlela", interest free, no repayment arrangements, no collateral guarantees, or repayment guarantees etc. according to the cases current with the Hawks. Does this not represent gross misappropriation of funds?

12. Could the trustees please explain how money produced for the Lord’s work by aQuellé and Emseni Farming could be “loaned” away in secret contrary to PBO regulations as is set out in the SA Laws governing PBOs, to the detriment of the founding Constitution of KwaSizabantu Mission as available on the Internet?

13.  It is noted from the public reporting that a whole group of co-workers at the Mission are implicated in the alleged "money laundering scheme". It is also notable that the documents reportedly supporting this alleged criminal act are official and received legally from the auditing firm and seem to be authentic. Further it is noted that the auditing firm responsible for the audits of the books has reported the matter to authorities and an investigation is current with the Hawks. It is also noted that the previous CEO of aQuellé and member of the Mission's Management, Arno Stegen submitted an affidavit to the Hawks and the subsequent investigation is current. It is also noted that myself and others have submitted supporting documents to the Hawks. It is further noted that the three members of the current management of Mission KwaSizabantu, Erlo Stegen, Lidia Dube and Eunice Ngcamo are directors and trustees of KSB since 2012 and alleged to be the perpetrators. Why are they not suspended from all duties pending the outcome of the multiple investigations as is done for example by the South African government in similar alleged criminal cases with public servants? Why do they remain as trustees of KwaSizabantu Mission and directors of Ekhamansi Springs (aQuellé), Emseni Farming, Credscan, Emseni Consulting Services, Ekhamanzi Transport, Cedar Admin Services, Kay Welfare Trust, The Cedar Trust; which are all business entities of Mission KwaSizabantu?

I think, if the leadership of KwaSizabantu Mission want to be transparent as stated in the media statement read by Ruth Combrink, General Manager of aQuellé, then honest answers to these and other most pertinent questions will go a long way to settling matters.

- Dr Peet H Botha. Former co-worker and member of Mission KwaSizabantu

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