South Africa

Bishop Zondo faces more rape charges after allegedly raping two more members of church

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It is alleged Bishop Zondo committed these offences between 2013 and 2018 to two female members while inside his church in Evaton.

The head of the Rivers of Living Waters Ministries, Archbishop Stephen Bafana Zondo (57), made his first appearance at the Sebokeng Regional Court on charges of five counts of rape and three counts of sexual assault on Friday.

National Prosecuting Authority spokesperson Lumka Mahanjana said it is alleged Bishop Zondo committed these offences between 2013 and 2018 to two female members of his church inside the church in Evaton.

“On an unrelated matter, the [trial] where Bishop Zondo is facing multiple counts of rape, Contravention of Sexual Offences Act as well as defeating the ends of justice will resume on 19 February 2024 at Pretoria High Court,” Mahanjana said.

“However, this matter was postponed to 12 March 2024 for trial at… Sebokeng Magistrates’ Court.”

A years’ old case

When the bishop appeared at North Gauteng High Court in Tshwane for the abovementioned case two years ago, supporters marched from the city’s church in Jeff Masemola Street to the high court.

He was facing nine rape charges—one of indecent assault and one of defeating the ends of justice. Two of the victims were children, one aged between eight and nine years of age when the alleged rape occurred.

The remaining seven victims were adults who were allegedly raped in Evaton, a Formula 1 hotel in Johannesburg and the Rivers of Living Waters Ministries branch in Robertsham.

Zondo also allegedly attempted to bribe one of the victims with R25 000 to withdraw the case against him.

ALSO READ: Bishop Zondo’s rape trial starts in Tshwane

16 days of activism

This comes two days before the end of 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence, where the country looks at abuse, and especially sexual abuse, against women and children.

On Wednesday, Limpopo police launched a manhunt for a suspect who fatally stabbed his girlfriend and wounded another person who tried to intervene.

Esther Michavi, 43, was stabbed to death in Nwakhuwani Village, Giyani, by a man alleged to be her boyfriend.

According to police spokesperson Brigadier Hlulani Mashaba, the mother of four and her children were accommodated by her friend after she experienced domestic challenges with her boyfriend when the incident occurred.

ALSO READ: Domestic violence horror: Mother of four fatally stabbed, Good Samaritan also wounded