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“The government should take over KwaSizabantu”

An answer to Ruth Combrink / The public evidence process begins

The video on the website of Mission KwaSizabantu is dark, radiates a leaden atmosphere and is anything but exciting. But for the South African public, shocked by the scandal surrounding Mission KwaSizabantu, it is really thrilling. A pale, tired looking woman, whose charisma does not show any signs of joie de vivre, reads a statement in an emotionless voice, which is as dreary in content as the grey background in the picture. The woman, Ruth Combrink, 43 years old, a daughter of Erlo Stegen, seems tense and uninvolved. Whether her words also reflect her opinion cannot be seen. The video, which can be seen on the website, is an attempt by Mission KwaSizabantu to try a different defense strategy against the new massive allegations of abuse. 

Aggression off, empathy on: In the video, as we reported, for once there is no talk of “smear campaign”, of “all lies, but of “compassion” with people who have experienced violence and abuse. (See: ) “This goes closer to our hearts than you can imagine,” she says and “we offer them support. She also affirms: “It is our unconditional intention to work to right proven wrongs and we commit ourselves to take all necessary measures to make up for such things”.  She mentions the 2-man commission set up by KwaSizabantu to investigate the allegations and urges the victims to contact this commission. But for all the stressed  empathy that she has expressed, what Ruth Combrink says is technocratic, is strategic, a desperate but transparent attempt by the KwaSizabantu mission to present itself differently than before. The video and text analysis makes it clear: it has failed. For Ruth Combrink is not affected by the fate of hundreds, if not thousands of mission victims. No apology or anything like that comes across her lips; in the video she does not even speak a half-sentence about whether the allegations of abuse are justified after all or could have happened. Not a single confession – but the request to the victims to deal with and prove the accusations in individual interrogations before a commission appointed by her. Question: How does a victim prove rape by a senior staff member after years or months, how does an aggrieved person prove beatings in dark chambers by violent mission members after a long time? Although Ruth Combrink makes fine words with immovable mine, she obviously hasn’t understood that a Christian mission must act differently than a legal authority and can’t impose the sole burden of proof on its victims of abuse. They and the people behind them have not understood that the accusations against KwaSizabantu can only be clarified in a public opinion-forming process based on circumstantial evidence and later possibly in court. Ruth Combrink and Co have not yet understood that this process has begun – and that KwaSizabantu no longer has have the booklet of action in their hand. And: that the burden of evidence against KwaSizabantu is overwhelming.

That such kind of statements by KwaSizabantu are always a slap in the face for the numerous victims of the mission and because of their insubstantiality and the easily recognizable intention to deceive, are always perceived by the victims as pure arrogance of a brutal, unbending power machine, should be understandable. This is also expressed in a statement that News 24 documented in detail on October 3. 

It is a personal statement by Koos Greef, an ordained pastor and former KSB employee who left the mission in 1993. 

Here is the text:

A response to the “apology” of Ruth Combrink

It was Monday morning very early when I received a message on our family What’s App group. It is strange for the children knows we go to bed early. It was Markus, our 40 year’s old son. He is an educated and successful business man in Namaqualand and Namibia. His voice was breaking as he told us about the beatings he received at KSB as a child. Not from me or his mother of grandparents. But from workers at the Mission. How they had to strip down in their underpants, lie on the floor and where furiously attacked for some simple failure. Markus was part of a little choir and once I took them on a hike. That afternoon we all took a dip and one of the boys could not swim properly and struggled a bit. I helped him out and we all laughed and went back to KSB. A few days later they were called before a large number of school children and trashed for taking a dip with oom Koos – the head of security.

This morning I was overwhelmed by calls and messages from all over about the “apology” that Ruth published on behalf of Kwasizabantu (KSB). People overcome by emotion. Not because of the actual “apology” at last, but because of the farcical nature of Ruth’s statement. I call it window-dressing to impress on Woolworths, Massmart and others to resume business as usual. KSB just wants the “money taps” to open up again. 

Why do I say that? Let’s take a quick look at the reality. I will start with myself. Shortly after I left KSB, I wrote three letters to Erlo Stegen personally and phoned him on six occasions asking for the opportunity to address the whole congregation at KSB about what I did on behalf of Military Intelligence. Erlo refused and wrote me letter accusing me of other things that I had no knowledge about. I had no option but to go to the SAPD in Klawer and, in the presence of two other witnesses, spoke to the station commander revealing it all. He advised me to write a letter to the TRC which he himself would forward to them. I did that, and also published it on the website www.ksb-alert. Now KSB wants me to report to their “enquiry” as if this is not known to all?

As head of security at KSB for many years, many matters were reported to me. As such, I was made aware of the sexual deviancy of Muzi Kunene in early 1982 already and I reported this to Erlo Stegen personally. I went back to him so many times about Muzi Kunene that eventually Erlo would get angry the moment I mentioned Muzi’s name to him. Now I must report this to their “enquiry”?

I have known of the sexual deviancy of Pieter van der Walt since May 1986, and I confronted Pieter personally about it. He scolded me and chased me out of his house. I drove back to KSB and immediately informed Erlo as well as the prophetesses, Hilda Dube en Josephina Nsibande about it. I went back to Erlo in person about more misdemeanours of Pieter until December 1993 when I resigned. Now I must report this to their “enquiry”?

I was informed of the kidnapping of Lidia Dube and immediately started looking into it. Within hours, I realised it had been staged. Jannie le Roux was responsible for this “kidnapping” that went so drastically wrong that Thobekile Mhlongo suffered permanent and severe mental damage. I phoned Jannie and told him to clear up his mess and to report personally to Erlo Stegen what they did. This “kidnapping” blew up in KSB’s face and Lidia was publicly asked to step down for many years. Just to be reinstated after a coerced apology from Jannie le Roux.  Now I must report this to their “enquiry”?

Last year I was given the legal power or attorney to investigate the money matters of the trust as well as all the companies that are registered in the name of KSB. After more than a year, having spent hundreds of thousands of rands using a highly professional investigating team, we have solid proof of Lidia Dube, Eunice Ngcamu and Erlo Stegen authorising illegal transfers to the amount of R137 million. These unsecured loans were made to Lidia Dube and later to Moses Ndlela without any form of legally binding agreements. Together with a number of others, I have made statements about this and it was reported in the media far and wide. Yet I must now report these to their “enquiry”? 

On top of this, Eunice Ngcamu and Lidia Dube have laid charges against me and Prof Peet Botha only three or four days ago. What a farce! “So, I must trust your honesty, Ruth?”

About Erika. Her mother spoke in public only a few days ago black-smearing and shaming her for the whole world to know. After that, her sister Hannah Pretorius went even further. On Sunday, you published her name on your website as part of your character assassinations. And you expect Erika to now report to your “enquiry”? 

The tragic story of the rape in your hospital was reported to the police in Kranskop and seemingly investigated but nothing came from it. Kranskop SAPD has been actively working with KSB from the time I was at KSB and this is ongoing. Why must she report the rape to your “enquiry”? You have known about it since last year. The young perpetrator of that horrible allegation is known to us, yet you allow him to continue preaching from your pulpit?

The tragic history of Chantal goes back so many years and has destroyed many family bonds. Yet you vilify and smear her and David and do nothing about it. You call it “consensual sex”, but she was an under-aged child. You also have been informed that this perpetrator is continuing his horrible acts yet you allow him a position of high respect in your midst. Is it because he is rich and gives you lots of money? You ask Chantal to respect your request and trust your honesty, yet you did nothing about it for more than 35 years?

Muzi Kunene raped a number of girls at KSB. I am aware of at least three. These rapes were reported to Erlo Stegen in person yet he scolded the girls, calling them whores and ordering them to keep quiet “to protect the good work at KSB”.

One of them went back to KSB about five years ago and had a meeting attended by Colonel Tobie Vermaak , Kjell Olsen, Jan Pienaar, Jabulani Dube and others. She reported in exact details her life-destroying experience. Kjell Olsen admitted that they knew about the rapes of Muzi but Jabulani forbade the girl to carry on speaking as “Tante Kay is dead now and you cannot speak about a person who is not present.” What a joke! Now you want this person who is still hurting to speak to your “independent panel”? Why do you not ask Jabulani and Jan and Tobie about it and sort it out the way real Christians would? You are window-dressing to get the money taps open. 

You appoint a certain Reverend Michael Ngubane to speak on your behalf. This man did not finish school and never had any theological training yet you smear the name of the real Church by giving him the high position of “Reverend”. This scoundrel was personally responsible for severely beating crowds of children – including my own son twice. That for absolute nonsense without asking permission from parents living at KSB. He is a self-confessed murderer, perhaps he still suffers from psychological leftovers of that murder; I would love to help in in pastoral counselling. But you expect my son and the hundreds of other children to trust your “enquiry” yet you allow Michael to serve on your board of trustees? You all know what a violent and sullen person he is. Where are his own children? Have you never heard that a leader in the Church must be someone who takes good care of his household? Must I advise the thousands of hurting children to trust your honesty yet Michael is your spokesperson impersonating a godly reverend?

I want to tell KSB and Ruth Combrink that we are not interested in taking over KSB. It is not a case of white people not wanting to let go of the control of the Mission. I, for one, state openly here and now that I never want to go back there and that I never want to serve in any capacity on any of your companies and that I don’t want any of your money. I plead with the government to take over KSB, to appoint independent caretakers to restructure the whole place and to make sure that it serves the benefit of the whole community.  

You know our names. You have our contact details and if you lack any details, reach out to me and I will help you find the thousands hurting all over the world. You need to start contacting people now and in person and do it openly and honestly. We are waiting for real brokenness and real confession – the way you taught us.

Just another point to Ruth. You claim the name of the property is “Silverstreams”. Please check the legal registrations. The farm is  called “Jammerdaal” Truly KSB is a place of sorrow and weeping.