KwaSizabantu welcomes govt probe, calls for jobs not to suffer

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Chanté Schatz
  • KwaSizabantu Mission has welcomed an investigation by the government into allegations of various rights abuses.
  • Ruth Combrink, a leader at the mission, said their own investigation showed the mission had not been complicit.
  • She concurred with KZN Premier Sihle Zikalala that banning products from KwaSizabantu was causing job losses.

A leader at the controversial KwaSizabantu Mission in KwaZulu-Natal has welcomed government investigations into the institution, and has called for those with jobs at the mission not to suffer losses while the probes continue.

Ruth Combrink on Monday said they were humbled and appreciative that officials last week inspected the area.

WATCH | Inside KZN govt's tour of controversial KwaSizabantu

"So many officials visited the mission on Thursday on their fact-finding mission. We are happy to work with the government and welcome their investigation. We believe that we have the same goal – that is to hear the truth as we do not condone abuse and that the perpetrators must be brought to book," she said.

The statement comes after KZN Premier Sihle Zikalala on Sunday said that any wrongdoers should face the full might of the law.

He, however, stated that he would engage with retailers who have withdrawn KwaSizabantu-affiliated products, of which aQuelle water is the most prominent.

Combrink said they were awaiting a response from the CRL Rights Commission "to make our submissions". This after the mission's legal team told the chairperson of the commission to recuse himself.

"We are confident that the truth will soon become evident."

ALSO READ | KwaSizabantu: If allegations are proven, those responsible will be dealt with

She said they were confident the mission itself had done no wrong.

"From our own investigations, we are confident that KwaSizabantu Mission has not been complicit in any of the allegations, but rather that the allegations relate to individuals against which the law must take its course, if proven to be true."

Combrink said the devastation and impact of the allegations on the community are "significant". 

"It is not just about the job losses in our business operations, but the value chain, including suppliers, community entrepreneurs and service providers. Already more than 3 000 jobs have been directly affected.

"We support the sentiment of the premier of KZN that the communities should not suffer due to the unproven allegations."

The mission has come under the spotlight following a News24 investigation, in which former members of the mission gave personal accounts of alleged sexual assault, physical and psychological abuse, as well as alleged financial crimes.

The CRL Rights Commission probe will continue later this week.

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