Court hears how Bishop Zondo allegedly offered to buy rape accuser’s silence

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The high court in Pretoria has heard how Rivers of Living Waters Church leader, Bishop Steven Zondo allegedly offered to buy the silence of one of his rape accusers.

The 55-year-old faces eight charges of rape, one of indecent assault, and another of defeating the ends of justice.

He is accused of luring his victims on the pretext of praying for them.

Zondo has pleaded not guilty to all 10 charges.

The now 46-year-old woman, who is Zondo’s relative, has given a detailed account on how she was allegedly raped on three occasions by the church leader when she was just seven years old.

2020 video, Bishop Zondo maintains innocence amid sexual abuse claims:

And on all occasions, the preacher would allegedly give her R1 afterwards. She has told the court that during the third incident, the preacher was aggressive because of her screaming and crying when he entered the bedroom.

She also says she only disclosed the alleged incidents to her brother much later in life.

In May last year, she finally opened a sexual assault case against Zondo, 40 years after the alleged incidents.

A meeting between her and Zondo, and their respective families followed. She says during that meeting, the pastor denied the allegations and claimed he did not recall anything.

Despite this, he’s said to have apologised to the alleged victim’s family, but not to her.

The witness also claims the bishop pleaded for forgiveness and asked her to name her price to keep the matter a secret.

He allegedly offered her livestock and R25 000 among others, in exchange for dropping the charges, which she declined.

Cross examination is expected to continue on Wednesday.