An ex-spouse of a Rivers of Living Water ministries member has accused church leader Bishop Bafana Zondo of breaking up his marriage after he allegedly found saucy text messages between the two.
Konote Maqala appeared before the CRL commission on Wednesday, the second day of its hearings into allegations of s.e.xual assault and “evil spirits” levelled against Zondo.
Konote was never a member of the church, but had grown suspicious when his wife would come home late and would hide in the garage when answering calls from Zondo, he told the commission.
“I went to Zondo’s chats (on WhatsApp) and I forwarded them to my phone. The messages that I found were very serious. They were expressing their love to each other and my wife was sending naked photos to him. That broke my heart,” said Maqala.
Maqala said that he confronted his wife, who told him that she was the one chasing after Zondo. Maqala alleged he called Zondo to set up a meeting to discuss the message, but after some time Zondo stopped taking his calls.
A sombre Maqala said that while in the process of a divorce he found a framed picture of Zondo in his wife’s bed. He told the commission that he grew increasingly jealous of Zondo as his wife would write lengthy Father’s Day messages to her “Dad” (Zondo) but would not do the same for him. He alleged that on one occasion she had brought Zondo a gown valued at over R1 000.
Accusations of Zondo “breaking up marriages” were a recurring theme at the commission as similar allegations were made on Tuesday by other witnesses.
The commission also heard that Maqala’s wife, who was unemployed, would take money given to her to start a business and use it to pay for a deliverance class offered at the church worth R5 000.
“She would take it and use the money for that church. She would trick me because she knows I love business, she would come with a business plan and I would borrow money from the bank to fund her,” said Maqala.
Reverend Andile Mali, a former pastor at the church, told the commission that some church congregants would take out loans because giving to the church was strongly emphasised.
“Old people would send their [social] grants every month. People would take out loans to go and give for the building (of a new church); I said ‘over my dead body, it stops here’. Two people, professionals, took out loans, one for R20 000 and the other for R50 000. The Bible doesn’t say you have to take out a loan so you can give in the house of God,” said Mali.
The commission was expected to continue on Thursday with testimonies from more victims of Zondo’s alleged abuse. Zondo denied all s.e.xual assault allegations levelled against him.
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