Durban – Hearings held by CRL Rights Commission into the KwaSizabantu Mission in the KZN Midlands have revealed witness testimony that the mission did not build families, but broke many.
Witnesses say they lived in fear and that the mission covered up much of what happened.
They say they had been raped and some did not want to testify on camera.
One victim is 45-year-old Celimpilo Malinga.
“My father didn’t have a chance to be our father because our father was the church,” Malinga testified.
“The church parented us, we never knew our parents’ voice because they took instruction from the church and we did not have a relationship where they could say, “this is what we want for our children”
“The church wanted something for their children. The church didn’t build our family, the church broke our family.”
The acts of rape were allegedly committed by church members either inside the church premises or outside.
“My dad said to me when I wanted to marry this lady and the mission didn’t agree because they had the guts to tell me that she wasn’t a virgin,” the husband of one victim said.
“But they didn’t have [the] guts to tell me was that she’s been raped by one of their own and it was covered up.”
CRL chairperson professor Davis Mosoma said as a commission, they have the power to refer matters to organs of state.
“Consequently we have the power to speak to the organs of state about where the case is, which you reported a year ago.”
On Tuesday, the commission will hear testimonies from the police while on Wednesday, church leaders are expected to present their defence.