By Kaya 959 Reporter
Bishop Stephen Zondo has been given one week to prepare for trial. Zondo, 55, head of the Rivers of Living Waters Ministries, is facing nine counts of rape.
National Prosecuting Authority spokesperson, Lumka Mahanjana, said Zondo has also been charged with contravening the Sexual Offences Act and defeating the ends of justice.
It is alleged that one of the victims that Bishop Zondo allegedly repeatedly raped is a family member.
It is further alleged that Bishop Zondo raped the victim in 1980 while she was eight or nine years old, while other victims that were allegedly raped and/or sexually assaulted by him were members of his congregation.
At least seven of Zondo’s other victims were adults and were allegedly raped at a hotel in Johannesburg, Evaton and at the church’s Robertsham branch.
Zondo is accused of offering one of the women R25 000 to drop the charges against him.
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Defence requests more time
Mahanjana said the trial was set to start this week, however, the defence requested the matter be postponed to 30 November as they were not ready to proceed.
“The state advocate opposed the postponement stating that the defence had enough time to prepare for the matter and that the state was ready to proceed with the trial. The judge granted the defence a one-week postponement.
The matter was postponed to 30 August 2021 for trial,” she said.
Last week, the NPA announced that charges were withdrawn against Bishop Israel Makamu following a consultation session with a woman who claimed that he had made sexual advances towards her when she was 18 years old.
“Makamu was released on R2000 bail after making a brief appearance on a charge of sexual assault at the Palm Ridge Magistrates’ Court on May 26, 2021,” NPA spokesperson in Gauteng, Phindi Mjonondwane said.
Main image credit: Facebook/Rivers of Living Waters Ministries