Call for Zondo’s ex-enforcers to be held accountable

Call for Zondo’s ex-enforcers to be held accountable

Reverend Thembelani Jentile, who heads the Mamelodi Baptist Church in Pretoria, says all the former pastors of Rivers Of Living Waters Ministries, who have been testifying against Church leader Stephen Zondo, should also be held accountable for the abuses they allege to have witnessed at the church.

Jentile made the remarks during an interview on VOW FM’s Breaking Ground programme on red flags of churches led by false prophets.

It was in response to evidence submitted by those who used to work in prophetic ministries and with Zondo before the CRL Rights Commission.

They testified, among others, how prophetic church leaders use witchcraft to solicit money from the congregants.

“It is very difficult, but as a pastor and religion scholar a true prophet would be someone who predicts that something  would happen and it happens. If you say to people give and you will be blessed or do this and you would receive money and then that doesn’t happen, then people would judge you and that is what the old testament is struggling with,” says Jentile.

He says true prophets should be able to help people with socio-economic challenges. “Everyone who prophesies and doesn’t deal with the socio-economic issues and political issues that people are going through to me is a false prophet because this world dictates what we must go through and I think God is concerned of what people are going through.”

“So in South Africa there are people who are dealing with spiritual things and others deal with day to day issues and separating them creates a serious problem,” he adds.

Jentile believes it would be difficult for the CRL Rights Commission to solve matters of faith and spirituality.

Although he commends all the pastors who say they have repented from duping people for coming out to testify at the commission, he believes all of them are thugs. “All of them should be held accountable, they can’t come and say Zondo did this, they are also as guilty as Zondo; they were part of the crime that was robbing people and they didn’t do anything about it, they knew that what Zondo was doing was wrong,”

“Zondo is a thug according to them but they are also thugs, the little thugs are now exposing higher ranking thugs,” says Jentile.

‘Zondo not a real prophet’

Meanwhile, Reverend Andile Mali who was Zondo’s right-hand man says when he joined the church, he was made to believe that he was serving under the Kingdom of God.

Sharing his experience on VOW FM’s Breaking Ground, Mali said Zondo appointed him after he saw his spiritual gift.

“His wife asked me to go and preach at one of his branches because when I was at the Vaal I was also a preacher and people saw the potential and the gift that God bestowed on me. When I came back with the report he appointed me as a pastor who can be able to pray for people because other people when they came to church they were possessed by demons,” said Mali while explaining how he ended up in Zondo’s church.

He says when he prayed, people were receiving the healing, deliverance and restoration. “He decided that he needed me next to him.”

Mali says Zondo was not a real prophet but he was getting messages from other gifted people. “When the holy  spirit blow, we would get  messages and we would give  all the messages to him and he would write them down, that is why when he comes to church he would read all the prophecies from the book those are the prophecies that he would take from us when the holy spirit is flowing.”

“I was not alone and we thought we were submitting under the kingdom of God, so that whatever that was happening people would receive correct prophecies.”

False prophets prey on the vulnerable

Solomon Izang Ashoms, who is a journalist and the founder of Movement Against Abuse in Churches, also weighed in on the matter during the Breaking Ground discussion.

He touched on the Bushiris’ escape to Malawi, saying the couple ran away from South Africa because they are afraid of spending time in jail.

Ashoms, who has been investigating high profile pastors for over 10 years, says what he saw is a total abuse of power by certain church leaders. 

“There is muthi in the pulpit to activate the supernatural powers. The congregants don’t even understand they think anytime that using the supernatural in churches is a miracle,” he alleges.

He says many church leaders have taken him to court for exposing their ways. 

“I have met Bushiri, I told him you cannot go on doing this you are going to be in trouble. They look for people who need jobs and tell them they are going to be blessed, that is a lie and then they look for people who are also sick and promise them healing. Even single women who are looking for a spouse have been victims of the fake and manufactured miracles and before you know it you have lost money,” says Ashoms.

Ashoms says some people have evidence against Bushiri and they just need proper channels to present it to the court.

Bushiri, Zondo and many other so-called miracle pastors are also dogged by allegations of rape and some – even murder.

They, however, all maintain their innocence.

Government is to blame for the Bushiris’ illegal stay in SA: Mashaba

Government is to blame for the Bushiris’ illegal stay in SA: Mashaba

Former Mayor of Johanesburg and ActionSA leader Herman Mashaba is blaming government for the Bushiris’ illegal stay in South Africa and the problem of illegal migrants, in general.

The anti-illegal migrant activist was reacting to news that Enlightened Christian Gathering (ECG) leader Shepherd Bushiri and his wife, Mary, are in South Africa unlawfully.

They apparently entered the country using visitors’ visas in 2009 and conducted business with it – violating the Immigration Act.

Home Affairs Minister Aaron Motsoaledi revealed this to the public broadcaster this week.

Mashaba says government has been ignoring the illegal activities taking place at home affairs.

“Look at how they gave the Guptas citizenship. How the Defence Minister brought her son’s girlfriend to the country without the correct papers for example…I can count many other cases,” he told Local Voices.

The Former Johannesburg Mayor wants to see accountability.

“Those who are responsible for this must be held to account.”

He urges authorities to deport migrants who are convicted of crime.

“We as South Africans welcome the people of the world and believe that they should be encouraged to come here legally. If they do not adhere to the laws of this country – they must be sent back to their countries of origins. We cannot afford to take care of criminals with the taxpayers’ money when South Africans are poor.

Mashaba says his party is still forging ahead with its bid to run for next year’s local government elections.

They are setting their sights on the City of Johannesburg, Tshwane and Ekurhuleni.

ActionSA launched an appeal with the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) on Tuesday after it initially rejected the organisation’s application to formally register as a political party.

The IEC cited ActionSA’s logo as the reason for this, saying it resembled that of Party of Action (POA) that also depicts an image of the South African flag.

The Former Johannesburg Mayor is upbeat that their wish will come true.

He is urging South Africans to give them a chance at the polls, saying they will fast-track service delivery in the three cities.

They also have big plans for South Africa.

“Give us the mandate in 2024. We are going to do an audit of citizenships awarded since 1994. We will start with the Guptas. Even migrants who commit crimes here. We will give them a fair hearing but we will send them to serve their sentences in their countries. We will sentence you but we will not take care of you. If your government wants you to serve your sentence here, they will have to pay for those expenses,” he says.

Mashaba is known for his no-nonsense stance on illegal migrants.

While still the Johannesburg Mayor – he often got into trouble for his claims that the influx of African migrants in the city has led to a spike in crime in the Joburg CBD. His administration said illegal immigration compounded serious challenges in the provision of basic services and temporary emergency accommodation (TEA) to residents.

Despite sustained backlash over this, Mashaba remains defiant – saying foreign nationals, especially with scarce skills, are welcomed to stay in the country – but they must do so lawfully.

The Bushiris and their three co-accused will meanwhile return to the High Court Pretoria on Friday over charges unrelated to their documents.

They have been charged with R100 million fraud, money laundering and the contravention of the Prevention of Organised Crimes Act.

The case has divided South Africans. His supporters believe that the self-proclaimed prophet is being unfairly targetted, while others say he must be held to account for allegedly swindling his flock’s money.