Pastor in Bishop Zondo’s church fails in bid to have CRL testimony heard in camera

2014 02 26 be1b5880431079929928dd019b337d38 scales of justice - Pastor in Bishop Zondo’s church fails in bid to have CRL testimony heard in camera

A pastor in Archbishop Stephen Zondo’s Rivers of Living Waters Ministries says she intends appealing a high court ruling, ordering that she directly applies to the CRL Commission for her testimony into the church’s dealings be held in camera.

On Friday, Pastor Lydia Malete also failed to stop the public hearings into allegations of impropriety at her church. The matter was heard in the high court in Johannesburg.

Zondo was the second applicant in it.

Malete is scheduled to appear at the CRL Commission hearings on Monday.

Her lawyer, Jeffery Rahlagane, is not happy with the court ruling. “He agreed with us that we can hold the matter in camera, we can go there in our fight to have the matter on camera but the problem is that you apply when you are there. So they have the discretion to refuse, we have to lodge an appeal. We have to file the papers by 11 o’clock, we want the judge to direct the CRL commission not to broadcast the investigation because this is not a commission of inquiry it’s an investigation.”

During last month’s hearings, Malete was mentioned a few times as an enabler in the murder, rape, and witchcraft allegations levelled against Archbishop Zondo.

Safety of congregants

In court papers, Malete argues that the public nature of the hearings compromised the safety of church congregants and leaders, and also compromised the integrity of the church.

The crux of Zondo and Malete’s argument is that the lay-person won’t be able to discern that the testimony at the hearings, at this stage, are mere allegations.  They claim similar allegations have been made before resulting in the church being set alight and a number of members being murdered.

Malete will appeal the court’s refusal to stop the broadcasting of her testimony but will have to honour her Monday appointment at the Commission.

“We will continue with our matter on Monday as the court found nothing wrong with our processes,  as for the request for in-camera session we are obviously as the commission willing to give people the opportunity to do it on camera but the decision will be made on Monday should she make representation to the committee,” says CRL Commissioner Richard Botha

Malete had introduced her niece to the church. Her niece, who testified at the commission last month, alleges that Zondo had raped her at a hotel in the south of Johannesburg and threatened her that someone would die if she told anyone about the ordeal.

She told the hearings that she did tell a relative, and shortly after that her mother and sister died in an accident, which she was also involved in.

She says it took her months after the accident to recover her memory and that is when she confronted Zondo.

He had allegedly told her that the deaths were caused by Satanists.

Zondo has denied this in an interview with SABC News: 

The stage is set for Malete to give her version of events at the CRL hearings on Monday.

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