live

DEVELOPING | KwaSizabantu to appoint review panel after claims of human rights abuses

Exodus kwasizabantu
Exodus kwasizabantu
News24
Last Updated
Live News Feed
Go to start

28 September 05:35

PODCAST | EXODUS Chapter 2: The Road

KwaSizabantu in KZN stands accused of gross human rights violations after News24 published a series of articles, revealing a string of abuses at the mission.

LISTEN TO THE PODCAST - FOR SUBSCRIBERS

28 September 05:32

'I was 5 years old': More allegations mount, but KwaSizabantu says virginity testing stopped in 2002

Virginity testing on girls as young as five, threatening to chop off the hands of children accused of stealing, an ingrained fear of damnation, and beatings bad enough to leave you struggling to sit - these are some of the allegations made by former members of KwaSizabantu Mission.

READ THE STORY FOR SUBSCRIBERS ONLY

25 September 12:26

Absa Cape Epic drops aQuellé as sponsor, Orlando Pirates monitors probe

The organisers of the Absa Cape Epic, the annual mountain bike race, have decided to drop aQuellé as a sponsor for the event following allegations of impropriety, abuse and money laundering at the religious mission linked to the water brand.

READ THE STORY ON NEWS24

25 September 08:37

Evangelist Peter Hammond backs KwaSizabantu Mission, says claims are part of a 'smear campaign'

Evangelist and missionary, Dr Peter Hammond, has defended the KwaSizabantu Mission in the wake of a hard-hitting News24 documentary whichhe described as "a hostile horror film".

READ THE SUBSCRIBER ONLY STORY

23 September 16:16

BREAKING | KwaSizabantu to appoint panel to deal with allegations of human rights violations, denies 'incorrect, hurtful' reports

The mission told News24:

"...we now address further grave allegations and how we are dealing with them. From the onset, we deny the allegations in the strongest possible way. They are incorrect, hurtful and damaging.

To address the allegations, we have taken board advice from our trustees, external advisors, clients and stakeholders. We are committed to absolute transparency. With regards to the allegations of potential human rights abuse, we are taking the following action:

1. Appointing an independent review panel to investigate the criminal allegation in this regard; and
2. The panel and its scope will be made available 3. The report and findings of the panel will also be made available.

Further to this, we are engaging with law enforcement agencies to bring to book those engaged in the vicious false allegations."

More to follow

23 September 13:11

You still have time to register for the live Q&A with the News24 team which exposed the KwaSizabantu cult
REGISTER HERE

23 September 11:18

A Massmart spokesperson told News24 the recall of aQuelle was "going well" and that individual customers were returning stock "because they don't want to be associated with the product".

On Tuesday, the company, that owns the brands Makro and Game, announced it would immediately withdraw all aQuelle products from their stores.

23 September 10:00

WRAP | How major retailers responded after allegations levelled against KwaSizabantu

KwaSizabantu and its affiliated businesses were in the eye of a storm on Tuesday. Investigations have been launched and major retailers suspended business with the mission.

READ THIS SUBSCRIBER ONLY STORY

23 September 09:55

Musa Zondi | Prayers instead of ARVs: How I lost my friend Busi to the KwaSizabantu cult

Musa Zondi recalls his childhood at KwaSizabantu Mission, but also losing a friend to HIV/Aids who had worked at the mission.

READ THE COLUMN

22 September 20:33

Corporates cut ties with KwaSizabantu, as police, CRL, SAHRC confirm investigations

There have been major moves surrounding KwaSizabantu Mission on Tuesday, after several reports by News24 detailing allegations of human rights violations and fraud.

Retailers who have been supplied with products owned by KwaSizabantu have demanded answers, with some having cut ties with those companies. The police have also been let loose on the controversial KwaZulu-Natal mission.

KwaSizabantu is the owner of aQuellé bottled water and vegetable supplier Emseni Farming.

Here is a rundown of Tuesday’s coverage:

Bottles of aQuellé have been pulled off shelves at Makro and Game, as Food Lover’s market and Spur cut ties with companies associated with KwaSizabantu. Pick ‘n Pay and Makro have demanded answers from KwaSizabantu amid allegations of human rights abuses.

Woolworths halted buying products from a supplier owned by KwaSizabantu, pending more information on the allegations made against the company. Spar has also cut ties with all suppliers owned by the mission.

aQuellé itself said it will appoint a panel to investigate allegations contained in News24’s reports, but labelled the exposé as “vicious” and “sensational”.

Meanwhile, police minister Bheki Cele confirmed police are investigating the mission, but would not give details.

The Commission for the Promotion and Protection of Rights of Cultural, Religious and Linguistic Communities has also launched a probe, and has encouraged anyone who has been involved with the mission to come forward.

The SA Human Rights Commission also confirmed an investigation on Tuesday, into what it deems as human rights violations in the name of religion.

  • On Wednesday at 18:00, News24 holds a live discussion with the reporters who broke the KwaSizabantu story. Get more information here, or sign up for the event.

  • News24 subscribers can view the entire special report here.

    - Compiled by Kerushun Pillay
<strong>Corporates cut ties with KwaSizabantu, as police, CRL, SAHRC confirm investigations</strong><br /><br />There have been major moves surrounding KwaSizabantu Mission on Tuesday, after several reports by News24 detailing allegations of human rights violations and fraud.<br /><br />Retailers who have been supplied with products owned by KwaSizabantu have demanded answers, with some having cut ties with those companies. The police have also been let loose on the controversial KwaZulu-Natal mission.<br /><br />KwaSizabantu is the owner of aQuellé bottled water and vegetable supplier Emseni Farming.<br /><br /><em>Here is a rundown of Tuesday’s coverage:</em><br /><br />Bottles of aQuellé have been pulled off shelves at Makro and Game, as Food Lover’s market and Spur cut ties with companies associated with KwaSizabantu. Pick ‘n Pay and Makro <a href="https://www.businessinsider.co.za/retailers-wants-answers-from-kwasizabantu-2020-9"><strong>have demanded</strong></a> answers from KwaSizabantu amid allegations of human rights abuses.<br /><br />Woolworths halted buying products from a supplier owned by KwaSizabantu, <a href="https://www.businessinsider.co.za/woolworths-suspends-buying-kwasizabantu-2020-9#:~:text=Woolworths%20has%20stopped%20buying%20products,fraud%20at%20the%20KZN%20mission"><strong>pending more information</strong></a> on the allegations made against the company. Spar has also <a href="https://www.businessinsider.co.za/spar-stops-buying-aquelle-2020-9"><strong>cut ties</strong></a> with all suppliers owned by the mission.<br /><br />aQuellé itself said it will appoint a panel to investigate allegations contained in News24’s reports, but <a href="https://www.news24.com/news24/southafrica/news/aquelle-to-appoint-mutlidisciplinary-panel-to-investigate-vicious-media-allegations-20200922"><strong>labelled the exposé as “vicious” and “sensational”</strong></a>.<br /><br />Meanwhile, police minister Bheki Cele <a href="https://www.news24.com/news24/southafrica/news/cele-confirms-that-kwasizabantu-mission-is-being-investigated-20200922"><strong>confirmed police are investigating the mission</strong></a>, but would not give details.<br /><br />The Commission for the Promotion and Protection of Rights of Cultural, Religious and Linguistic Communities <a href="https://www.news24.com/news24/southafrica/news/kwasizabantu-crl-rights-commission-launches-official-probe-urges-former-members-to-come-forward-20200922"><strong>has also launched a probe</strong></a>, and has encouraged anyone who has been involved with the mission to come forward.<br /><br />The SA Human Rights Commission also <a href="https://www.news24.com/news24/southafrica/news/kwasizabantu-sahrc-investigates-human-rights-violations-conducted-in-name-of-religion-20200922"><strong>confirmed an investigation on Tuesday</strong></a>, into what it deems as human rights violations in the name of religion.<br /><br /><ul><li><em>On Wednesday at 18:00, News24 holds a live discussion with the reporters who broke the KwaSizabantu story. Get more information </em><a href="https://www.news24.com/news24/video/southafrica/news/register-now-qa-with-the-team-that-exposed-the-kwasizabantu-cult-in-kwazulu-natal-20200921"><strong><em>here</em></strong></a><em>, or </em><a href="https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_VpCKCPH3QTaKZvvmsUPBSA"><strong><em>sign up for the event</em></strong></a><strong><em>.</em></strong></li></ul><br /><ul><li><em>News24 subscribers can view the entire special report </em><a href="https://specialprojects.news24.com/exodus-kwasizabantu/index.html"><strong><em>here</em></strong></a><em>.</em><br /><br />- Compiled by Kerushun Pillay</li></ul>

22 September 18:10

aQuellé pulled from shelves at Makro, Game - as Food Lover's also cuts ties with ‘cult’ companies

Walmart-owned Massmart – owner of Makro and Game – and Food Lover’s Market have joined Spar and Woolworths in cutting ties with the businesses associated with the controversial KwaSizabantu mission in KwaZulu-Natal.

On Tuesday, employees at Makro were seen removing aQuellé water from store shelves, and Massmart confirmed that it has severed ties with the supplier.

“In light of the serious allegations in ongoing media reports, Massmart has suspended the sale of aQuelle water, which is manufactured by Ekhamanzi, pending the outcome of their own internal, and recently confirmed South African Police Services and independent third party, investigations,” a spokesperson said.
Read the report here

22 September 16:47

KwaSizabantu: Spar cuts ties with all suppliers associated with the KZN mission

Spar has followed Woolworths in severing ties with the businesses associated with KwaSizabantu.

Spar group merchandise executive Mike Prentice confirmed to Business Insider that the group has suspended orders from Ekhamanzi Springs, which owns the water brand aQuellé, as well as for fruit and vegetables from Emseni Farming. In KwaZulu-Natal, some Spar franchises also sell Bonlé, a yogurt brand which is associated with KwaSizabantu.

At a national level, the chain has decided not to place new orders with all business associated with KwaSizabantu. 

The Spar distribution centre has put on hold the ordering of fresh stock with immediate effect, however stores may still sell products that remain on shelves.
Business Insider with the report

22 September 15:54

SAHRC to investigate KwaSizabantu allegations

The South African Human Rights Commission says it views the allegations contained in a series of reports by News24 about KwaSizabantu Mission "in a serious light and have engaged our KwaZulu-Natal office to investigate the matter."

News24 reported, among other things, of human rights violations at the mission.

The SAHRC's CEO, advocate Tseliso Thipanyane, said: "The Commission is also pleased to note that the Kwa-Zulu Natal Provincial government has also launched its own investigation into the cult and that retailer Woolworths has also stopped trading with the group in light of these serious allegations.

"What is concern for the Commission are the human rights violations conducted in the name of religion. The SAHRC respects the right to freedom of religion, opinion and belief, however this right cannot be exercised in blatant contravention of human rights as has been alleged in this matter."

22 September 15:30

Cele confirms investigations into KwaSizabantu

Police Minister Bheki Cele has confirmed that there are investigations going on about KwaSizabantu mission. He said there are "people who have a relationship with KwaSizabantu who have raised issues with the mission."

The minister says that while he knows about the mission he does not know anyone from there. He says he has "no personal understanding" about it, and has never been there.

He did not want to elaborate on the investigations.

Police minister Bheki Cele was asked the question by a News24 reporter on the back of an address about Level 1 lockdown regulations.

News24 at the weekend published damning allegations of corruption and abuse of congregants at the KZN mission. 

22 September 14:05

aQuellé has appointed an external panel consisting of "legal, political, business and grassroots level individuals" to investigate allegations published in a News24 exposé which revealed claims of gross human rights abuse and financial crimes at Mission KwaSizabantu.

This development is contained in a letter sent to its retail clients on Monday.

22 September 13:01

REGISTER NOW | Q&A with the team that exposed the KwaSizabantu cult in KwaZulu-Natal

Founded in 1970 by missionary Reverend Erlo Stegen, the KwaSizabantu Mission is nestled in the green and lush Valley of a Thousand Hills.

TAP HERE FOR DETAILS

22 September 12:19

Exodus | 'I will never go back' - leaving KwaSizabantu after more than two decades

It's been 11 months since Gert de Vries packed up his possessions and left KwaSizabantu with his family and loaded their furniture onto a borrowed trailer after devoting their lives to the mission for more than two decades.

READ HIS INCREDIBLE STORY

22 September 10:55

Adriaan Basson | Want to stop a cult? Then don't buy aQuellé bottled water

On Saturday, News24 published the result of a seven-month investigation into allegations of gross human rights violations and abuse at KwaSizabantu Mission. You can make a difference by not buying their unholy water, writes Adriaan Basson.

READ THE COLUMN

22 September 10:41

KwaSizabantu 'cult': Woolworths halts buying from supplier, offers to help authorities

Woolworths has stopped doing business with the fruit and vegetable supplier owned by the controversial KwaSizabantu, as it awaits further information about allegations of abuse and fraud at the mission.

READ THE BUSINESS INSIDER STORY

22 September 10:24

Newzroom Afrika's Ayanda Nyathi chats to Editor-In-Chief at News24, Adriaan Basson.

22 September 10:16

Pick n Pay and Makro demand answers from KwaSizabantu amid abuse allegations

Pick n Pay and Makro have reached out to KwaSizabantu, the owner of aQuellé sparkling water and vegetable supplier Emseni Farming, for answers as its KwaZulu-Natal mission stands accused of gross human rights violations and abuse.  

GET THE DETAILS ON BUSINESS INSIDER

22 September 10:15

KwaSizabantu: CRL Rights Commission launches official probe, urges former members to come forward

The CRL Rights Commission confirmed it would investigate allegations of human rights abuse at KwaSizabantu.

FOLLOW THE STORY

22 September 10:08

KwaSizabantu: Stay strong, preacher tells congregants in the face of abuse allegations

Sunday service at KwaSizabantu Mission near Kranskop in KwaZulu-Natal went ahead virtually, and was broadcast on its radio station and YouTube channel, with the preacher urging congregants to stay strong in the face of allegations of rape, sexual and financial misconduct.

READ IN FULL

22 September 10:08

EXCLUSIVE | Exodus: Uncovering sexual crimes and missing millions at a KZN 'cult'

After an investigation of seven months, News24 can today reveal the depth of the rot at KwaSizabantu (KSB), one of the biggest missions in Africa started by German preacher Erlo Stegen in 1970 at Kranskop, northern KwaZulu-Natal.

FOLLOW THE STORY ON NEWS24

22 September 10:07

Exodus | 'They are never going to break me' - from KSB, to street child, to the small screen

Marietjie Bothma earns a living by making people feel good. She gets a crowd going at events she hosts and made TV audiences laugh as the indecisive blonde who speaks fluent Zulu in a King Pie ad.

GET THE DETAILS

22 September 10:07

Exodus | 'I'm deeply ashamed': Former KSB employee on how he spied for apartheid security forces

"I am deeply ashamed," Greeff said of acting as an informant for the state while working as a missionary at KwaSizabantu, a haven he described as "such a gentle, friendly place" when he had arrived there.

READ THE STORY ON NEWS24
We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For only R75 per month, you have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today.
Subscribe to News24
Lockdown For
DAYS
HRS
MINS
Voting Booth
Who do you think is going to win the 2020 US election?
Please select an option Oops! Something went wrong, please try again later.
Results
Biden is going to take it
47% - 10258 votes
It's four more years for Trump
53% - 11486 votes
Vote
ZAR/USD
16.37
(-0.17)
ZAR/GBP
21.16
(+0.45)
ZAR/EUR
19.11
(+0.64)
ZAR/AUD
11.50
(+0.37)
ZAR/JPY
0.16
(+0.31)
Gold
1866.73
(-0.66)
Silver
23.31
(-0.41)
Platinum
851.00
(-2.06)
Brent Crude
39.48
(-4.73)
Palladium
2188.00
(-2.56)
All Share
51896.97
(-0.79)
Top 40
47576.46
(-0.74)
Financial 15
9756.70
(-2.69)
Industrial 25
72681.12
(-0.25)
Resource 10
47826.96
(-0.63)
All JSE data delayed by at least 15 minutes morningstar logo