Court rejects Pastor Zondo’s appeal to have CRL Commission hearings stopped or held in camera

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The High Court in Johannesburg has rejected an application for leave to appeal by the leader of the Rivers of Living Water Ministries, Archbishop Stephen Zondo. The court on Friday ruled against Zondo and a pastor at his church who tried to have the CRL Commission hearings on his church and himself stopped or held in camera.

The High Court also ruled that pastor Lydia Malete should apply to the CRL Commission for her testimony not to be made public.

She and Zondo had argued in court papers that a lay-person would not be able to tell that the claims of rape, murder, and witchcraft made at the hearings are, at this stage, mere allegations.

Allegations levelled against Pastor Zondo:

Malete is scheduled to appear before the commission this afternoon.

CRL Commission Chairperson Luka Mosoma, this morning, read out the court verdict on the leave to appeal challenge.

“The verdict is as follows: an applicant failed to present convincing arguments for the appeal. There is no reasonable chance for this appeal to succeed at any other court. The application is dismissed with costs.”

Witness failed to appear before the commission

The CRL Commission has warned a witness that she could be jailed for not showing up at its hearings. The commission is considering its options after Desiree Malesa did not honour a scheduled appearance before them today.

She has been mentioned in the testimonies of former members of the church who appeared at the hearings last month.

Commission Chairperson David Mosoma says not turning up at the hearings when summoned is a serious offence.

“Any person convicted of an offence in terms of subsection one is liable to a fine or to imprisonment for a period not exceeding one year or to both a fine and such imprisonment and this particular individual is classified under these two sections of our act.”