If an organization hires attorneys to conduct an investigation that involves many people, reading a lot of documents, and producing a comprehensive report at the end of several weeks of research, then that organization will have to pay the attorneys for their work. No one does weeks of work for nothing.
If an organization hires lawyers to conduct an investigation and an expertise based on it and has to pay them for it, then, as is known from politics and industry, from business, from church and society, this organization expects a result in its own interest. Of course, the commissioned lawyers know that too.
Mission KwaSizabantu, which has fallen into disrepute because of multiple accusations of violence, abuse, embezzlement, and various other offences, commissioned two lawyers with such an investigation, including a report, in September 2020. The lawyers Khumbu Shazi and Peter le Mottee, so the mission sounded after the flood of terrible news had fallen upon them, were to form an “Indepentand panel“ within two weeks, investigate the allegations and write a report, what it really is and was with the “mission of horror”, as the big news portal News 24 sometimes calls the mission KwaSizabantu in its reports.
Already with the boastful announcement of the short investigation period for the lawyers, it was clear to all observers: this will not work. And so, it did – instead of on October 9, the panel’s well payed final report was presented six weeks later, on November 20.
Lidia Dube, by the way, who has long since become the central figure in the scandals surrounding the mission, could not be present at the big moment – she is said to be in the Wilgers Hospital in Pretoria, Cardiology Ward, bed number 4. She was left with the live broadcast on youtube, where she could follow the spectacle with just about a hundred other viewers around the world.
The mission’s attempts to defend itself against the numerous reports of sexual, physical, psychological, and spiritual abuse had already given the astonished public proof of the naive, almost childish worldview of KSB supporters days before the big showdown. In a concerted action, some 50 KSB followers wrote personal reflections on the mission from their own perspective on the mission’s website. The result was, as was to be expected, the image of a world without any blemishes, without malice, full of love and mercy, full of good people with pure hearts, living in pure idyll. Title: ” True Experiences – Personal Stories and first-hand experiences at KwaSizabantu Mission “. Numerous letters of the same content were sent to the media, tenor of the reflections: everything in, everything around and everything on KwaSizabantu is without exception good and beautiful.
That such beautiful painting outside the gates of this KwaSizabantu heaven seems downright ridiculous is completely incomprehensible to KSB disciples. There is a simple explanation for this. Because anyone who lives in this cloud-free, sunny paradise and is dedicated to it with skin and hair has no idea how the world outside actually works – and what does go down well. Because they are not allowed to watch television, are punished for watching “worldly” movies, do not read newspapers, do not listen to “worldly” radio, “worldly” books are frowned upon, friendly contacts with people outside the cult are extremely rare, there is no real communication with people outside the KSB world. A feeling for what others think, experiences with other views, opinions, customs and traditions, the struggle for points of view and the handling of conflicts are strange to them. So strange that KSB followers very often meet their Waterloo when they leave the cult, and no one thinks for them and no one guides them. Apart from the little information they hear in sermons or sometimes in conversation, they know next to nothing. Only that the world is evil, abortion is horrible, immorality is rampant everywhere, a woman with slits in her skirts is a whore and her critics are of the devil – they know that very well. They despise the world outside their Elysium and take it for granted that when the world meets KwaSizabantu, it will follow its rules.
That this is not the case and that it is not about how beautiful some people reflect about KwaSizabantu and whether there are any who have experienced good things there, but that the mission leadership there has constantly swept the worst crimes committed by its employees against defenseless victims under the carpet for decades and often rather the other way around, putting the victims as the guilty ones – this does not even occur to KwaSizabantu followers. Their world has to be beautiful and because what cannot be cannot be. That is the basic motto in the KSB parallel world. And that kind of thing does not go down well outside when things get serious and crime is involved.
Even the mission’s attempts to defend itself in front of the CRL Commission against the testimony of numerous victims of KwaSizabantu had often missed the point to such an extent that observers sometimes reported incredulous shaking of heads by the commission members. Again and again, when KSB residents, instead of offering a valid defense against the massive accusations, had only the image of a Garden of Eden to offer , listeners in the hall would have rolled their eyes or looked resignedly through the room. It was also noticeable that in a phase that was quite decisive for the existence of the Mission, nobody from the leadership of KwaSizabantu wanted to participate in the hearing of the CRL Commission. No Erlo Stegen, no Lidia Dube, no Dietmar Joosten, no Detlev Stegen, no Dhabulani Dube – the leadership of the mission did not show up, the people in charge of the mission shirked responsibility. They had no plan what to do out there in the real world when things got serious. But as the world knows, this automatically deducts points.
On Friday, November 20, 2020, six weeks later than announced, the results of the research of the “Independent panel” paid by KwaSizabantu were presented to the public.
Those who had expected that the so very ” Independent panel ” would present its results to the public itself were mistaken. A certain Keith Mathee, an advocate who has been working for KwaSizabantu for a long time, took the report of the ” Independent panel “, sat down behind a bottle of water from aQuelle and in front of a camera and broadcasted live on youtube what he and his clients had read from the expertise. However, his speech, which lasted for one and a half hours, had only a very short content – in summary: “The result of the investigations: Nothing! No evidence, no proof, no evidence.”
It should be briefly mentioned that another lawyer in the service of KSB, a certain Andrew Arnott from Durban, who had organized the “Independent panel” for KwaSizabantu, had tricked the party of KwaSizabantu victims. Instead of sending the final paper of the “Independent panel” to the victims of KwaSizabantu who had testified before them, as promised, immediately after its completion, he withheld the paper – until after its publication by colleague Matthee. This leaves room for the assumption that KwaSizabantu had received the paper days earlier and carefully prepared its interpretation before October 20. For weeks, Arnott had implored several representatives of KSB’s prosecutors to testify before the panel because there were so few interested parties who would have agreed to testify before the panel. He had promised great transparency and openness – but the result was the opposite. The transcripts of the interviews that the “Independent panel” had conducted with the victims had not been sent to them as promised. In plain language: The “Independent panel “, the KSB lawyers and the management of KSB – they all tricked the already abused KSB victims once again and cocked a snook at them.
KSB’s unworldliness was evident in another measure that had little to do with the promised transparency and serious investigation of the accusations. Instead of giving the KSB panel’s report to all of the country’s media, only one media platform received the report on the day of its publication, the Times Media. Such an unprofessional approach does not necessarily endears oneself with journalists from other media…
Here are excerpts from the report by Times life on Friday, November 20.
“On Friday, the Church released the report of an investigation it commissioned, which was conducted by what it said was an “independent panel” composed of legal counsel Khumbu Shazi and lawyer Peter le Mottee.
The lawyers cleared the church of accusations of being a sect but said they had found some problems that needed to be addressed. They also rejected the claims of ex-members about rape and sexual abuse.
“We found no substance in these allegations. The witnesses who talked to us about this aspect were mostly based on hearsay and could not provide primary reports about a particular incident,” the report said.
“We were not able to find credible versions of the alleged victims. We found no credible evidence that rape allegations were reported to the Mission, and the Mission covered them up”.
And while they admitted that they lacked “special resources,” they rejected the money laundering allegations. “We could find no evidence that any of the Mission’s associated companies were involved in money laundering,” the report said.
Dr Peet Botha, a former member and pastor at the mission, questioned the findings. He said the mission had handpicked the panel of investigators. Botha, who was interviewed by the panel, said he was yet to see the report. But it is clear from what is said to be in the report that the mission is manipulating an own process to find themselves innocent.
“The mission chose the investigators and paid them to investigate themselves and to come out with a report that exonerates the mission on all aspects,” said Botha.
“It shows us that they are just playing a game and they are taking care of themselves. They are putting out a positive report towards their financial assets and that people who bought from their businesses like aQuellé and Emseni previously would start buying again based on the report’s exoneration. It’s like former president Jacob Zuma setting up a parallel investigation to the Zondo Commission and chooses his own judge and his own attorneys and they find nothing wrong on his part. And he says to the world: ‘See I am innocent’.”
Erika Bornman, a former pupil at the mission’s Domino Servite School and a former member of the mission, shared Botha’s sentiments. Bornman was also interviewed by the panel and participate in the documentary Exodus.
“They have refused to release the report to us even though when I told them I was very hesitant to speak to them because I didn’t trust them, they assured me that they have the mandate to release it to me and public at the same time they release it to the mission,” she said.
“Now they are just refusing point blank. I spoke to them against my better judgment. I said to them from the beginning that an organisation cannot investigate itself and I had put my trust in the CRL Commission, the Hawks and the department of labour who are investigation. But I spoke to them because I felt that – and I feel that is why other people spoke to them – we can’t say it was a whitewash if we didn’t at least try.”
Bornman added: “It is utterly unfair to vilify us in public but deny us the opportunity to read what they wrote about us. It’s unconscionable and highly questionable and re-victimises us all over again.”
On Sunday, November 22nd, SABC News also reported on the whole process. Letters to the editor on Twitter reflected the mood created by Mission KwaSizabantu through the beautification and expertise of its lawyers:
„Nice! I really want to see where a legal panel appointed by an institution find against that institution“.
„They appoint a panel who they pay to investigate them…will you bite the bhand that feeds you“?
„That mus be a bad joke on Sunday afternoon“.
„Self investigate. Self judge. Self congratulate. I love you. You are honest in your self deception. Amen. You self believe.“
What made people sit up and take notice is a remark by Keith Mathee in the statement he made in front of the youtube camera on Friday, which is not mentioned in the newspaper report. He said that about three million people had already experienced the care of the KwaSizabantus mission and had received blessings there. And mistakes, he said, happen everywhere. He pitted a high, completely out of the air number of “blessed” against the number of abused – as if the abuse of defenseless victims could actually be set off against something. What is this contemptible numbers game that they are all playing – the lawyers and the followers and the leadership of KwaSizabantu? It’s not about whether 10, 100 or how many girls, women, children and who else have been raped, beaten and abused. The fact that rape and abuse took place there and that the mission leadership did nothing about it, it justifies every outcry against it.
The perfidious number games of Mr. Matthee can be set against another calculation: Only 50 endorsing, mission-lifting testimonies on the KSB’s website among allegedly three million “blessed” former KSB-goers? Question: Where are they, the “blessed” – and: why do they want nothing more to do with the “mission”? If out of so many “blessed” only so few speak out for – but even in front of the CRL – Commission many more voices speak against KwaSizabantu, then the numbers are a reason against against KwaSizabantu. Perhaps two percent are still there at KSB – but 98 percent have turned away from KSB. In Germany they say: That’s how you get a shoe out of it!
Finally, on Sunday, November 22, the Mission’s own radio station, Radfo Khwezi, announced that the Mission was cleared of all accusations by the “Independent panel”. All accusations were lies. Everything on the mission would run normally again soon.
Translated with www.DeepL.com/Translator (free version)