The rape trial of Rivers of Living Waters Church leader, Archbishop Stephen Bafana Zondo, is expected to continue in the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria on Wednesday morning.
Zondo is facing ten charges, including defeating the ends of justice and indecent assault.
According to court papers, the clergyman repeatedly raped his relative at her Sebokeng home in 1980 and gave her sweets to keep her quiet.
He also allegedly raped other women at his church under the pretext of deliverance and prayers.
On Monday, the third witness gave evidence in-camera following the state’s request.
The witness who also testified at the Commission for the Promotion and Protection of the Rights of Cultural, Religious and Linguistic Communities (CRL Rights) hearings cited safety reasons.
But the church is not convinced.
“Some people are guided by fear, or they know what they have been saying is not true. What we don’t understand is that when she went to the CRL commission she was live on TV but today something has changed, she is requesting that she wants to give evidence in-camera.”
“We are not moved by that, we agreed, we don’t have any problem, it’s not even a setback it’s a victory to us to say when you know that you are telling the truth, there’s nothing to fear if you are telling the truth,” says the church’s Sello Modibedi.
Modibedi says they are happy with the progression of the trial.
“We are happy that they’ve brought this matter to court. Our father will no longer be tried by the court of public opinion, he has been tried for many years and has been sentenced by the court of public opinion that he is guilty.”
Outside court, Zondo’s supporters continued to rally for him, singing church hymns.
On the other side, a group that goes by the name of Murendeni picketed against the pastor.
“We stand for the victims of Zondo who were raped and whose homes were broken as a result. We comprise of various churches against the abuse of women and children,” says a man who supports the alleged victims.
-Additional reporting by Phumzile Mlangeni
In the video below, reporter Molemo-Waone Mothoa gives more details about the trial: