News24.com | Former KwaSizabantu member’s ‘grave concern’ at ‘commonness of rape, sexual immorality’, CRL hears

News24.com | Former KwaSizabantu member’s ‘grave concern’ at ‘commonness of rape, sexual immorality’, CRL hears
Reverend Peet Botha testifies before the CRL Commission as part of it's probe into allegations of abuse at KwaSizabantu Mission.

Reverend Peet Botha testifies before the CRL Commission as part of it’s probe into allegations of abuse at KwaSizabantu Mission.

  • Former KwaSizabantu Mission member, Reverend Peet Botha, expressed “grave concern” for the “commonness of rape” at the mission as well as the way the mission handled these crimes.
  • Botha was testifying at the CRL Rights Commission on Thursday during its Gauteng leg.
  • He said he had made reference to 10 instances of alleged rape and sexual assault which happened at the mission.

Controversial church KwaSizabantu Misison’s handling of alleged sexual assault crimes committed against its members was in the spotlight at the Commission for the Promotion and Protection of the Rights of Cultural, Religious and Linguistic Communities (CRL Rights Commission) on Thursday.

A former member of the mission, Reverend Peet Botha, testified about his “grave concern” for the “commonness of rapes and sexual immorality” at the mission and its “lack of empathy” for victims.

The CRL Rights Commission convened for its second day of hearings in Gauteng, following its week-long leg in KwaZulu-Natal last week.

A former member of KwaSizabantu Mission has testified before the CRL Commission that he witnessed how some people seeking help for drug addiction at the mission’s rehabilitation facility were “beaten until they peed in their pants”. | @azarrahk https://t.co/Mp1UtrNEMQ

— News24 (@News24) October 15, 2020

Botha featured in News24’s Exodus exposé, but now seemingly faced charges of criminal defamation and crimen injuria laid by the mission, he said.

“I suppose this is the price I will have to pay for speaking openly about the likes of [KwaSizabantu Mission leader] Lidia Dube and others at KSB,” Botha said.

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In his submission to the commission, Botha said he had made reference to 10 instances of “rape, sexual immorality, adultery, incest and sexual harassment” based on personal experience of counselling these victims and their families.

Botha raised “grave concern” for how KwaSizabantu had handled these matters.

READ HERE | Pastor tells CRL inquiry KwaSizabantu has history of ‘avoiding accountability’

“The fact that the KSB leadership question and scorn the victims for keeping quiet, [for] not screaming when being raped as the Bible supposedly teaches, or not going to the police to report the rape or sexual immoral deeds, shows an alarming level of lack of understanding and lack of empathy for the victims who have to deal with inferiority feelings, guilt, shame and a male-controlled environment in which she as [a] female is exploited, abused and disregarded.”

He said the mission had prejudged victims “every single time” by using a blanket denial.

News24 has received two letters asking that consumers rethink not buying aQuellé water following allegations of human rights abuses at KwaSizabantu Mission.https://t.co/LUuD9k345E

— News24 (@News24) October 13, 2020

In his testimony, Botha gave three examples of these 10 cases, including a case of a girl who had allegedly been raped by two men who held a knife to her throat.

“Afterwards she is told not to speak by the two men because they know her, but she does not know them. If she speaks, she will be killed. Their faces were covered with balaclavas.

“Some months later, she overcomes her fear and reports it to her KSB counsellor. She is not believed. She should have screamed for that is what the Bible says a girl must do, she is told. She did not shout therefore it is implausible and not true,” Botha explained.

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He added the young girl tried to tell another counsellor at the mission, but was again not believed.

“Her downward spiral into an abyss of self-loathing and hatred for God begins. She has tried to commit suicide five times now.

“All those to whom this was reported are still senior co-workers at KSB. She does not want to speak about what happened to her at all anymore. She says, the fact that she received no help and support from the mission, is actually worse than the rape to her.”

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Another woman who had allegedly been raped by a pastor at the mission in 2009, but was refused help “in the throes of great fear”.

“She can’t talk for she will be killed if she talks, she said. She was told she will be shot if she says a word. She asks for prayer. She came many a time after that. Together on Sundays, we have cried many tears,” Botha said.

He added that he reported the crime without her knowledge, but nothing happened.

WATCH | Inside KwaZulu-Natal govt’s tour of controversial KwaSizabantu mission

“Nothing ever happened except that, from time to time, now she receives ‘comfort money’ as she put it to me, from the perpetrator and his family. He is still a co-worker and leader at KSB to this day.”

KwaSizabantu last week walked out of the commission’s hearings, saying they wanted the chairperson to recuse himself.

The mission had previously said many of the allegations pertain to specific individuals, and not the mission as a whole.

They were due before the commission next week.


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