After the publication of the CRL Commission’s investigation report on the allegations of abuse against KwaSiazabntu, it is clear beyond doubt that the constitutional body CRL Commission and the mission are fooling the countless KSB victims and all of South Africa.
For what the CRL Commission finally presented as the final report of its investigations after three years only under the pressure of a so-called mandamus application to the High Court of Gauteng Province is proof of its incompetence that cannot be surpassed in embarrassment. The meager paper is also an insult to the South African public, which has to stand by and watch its tax money wasted on a commission that is proving to be utterly useless. And the response of Mission KwaSizabantu was as hollow as it was narcissistic and so obviously a sham that society must ask itself whether it wants to put up with this unworthy spectacle any longer.
Almost three years of “hard work,” as the commission chairman Mosoma called the endless and sleepy investigations – and out came recommendations like these (we’ll leave out the four even less meaningful ones):
8.1 The Commission recommends the following:
8.1.3 Alleged crimes such as rape, assault, corruption, murder and money laundering should be reported to the South African Police Service (SAPS).
8.1.5 that any form of corporal punishment constitutes assault and, if practised within the mission, must be reported to the South African Police Service.
8.1.6 That virginity inspection may be carried out as a cultural custom in the mission on those who participate voluntarily, but should not be forced on anyone.
8.1.8 That disputes about lack of accountability and compliance with PBO laws be reported to the South African tax authorities.
8.1.9 Any religious practices in the mission that are illegal (contravene any law) and cause harm to the members of the mission and the pupils of the mission school should be reported to the South African Police Services (SAPS) as they fall outside the scope of sections 15 and 31 of the Constitution.
8.1.10 The mission should apologise to complainants and/or former members for any harm they may have caused through the mission’s practices.
8.1.11 Above all, reconciliation between the Mission and former members who have been injured or wronged by the practices of the Mission shall be promoted for the purpose of peace and unity. The Commission is willing and open to facilitate such reconciliation.
To make such scanty recommendations in the midst of a scandal of serious abuse of countless children and young people over decades, what should we call this- as disrespect, stupidity, impudence? But anyone who lives in the belief that one cannot top so much intellectual and substantive vacuum should watch a television interview with the current spokesperson of Mission KwaSizabantu, Dirk Combrinck. When the reporter points out that the Commission’s recommendation to apologise appears to involve blaming the mission, Combrinck dodges the question. The awkward-looking man with a grey face slips up, looks at a prepared manuscript and fibs to the reporter that the commission’s recommendations are being reviewed “by our team”. The reporter runs into him, asks again for a reason for an apology, but Combrinck does not respond.
Here are a few excerpts, which can also be seen on YouTube (https://youtu.be/kavMvC2Av7Y) :
Reporter: …. to find out more we have here the spokesperson for the mission, Dirk Combrinck , thank you very much for taking the time to do this. Good day to you for giving background information for those of us who may not be familiar with this particular case. What was the crux or the issues at stake?
0:43 Combrinck: Cindy, thank you very much for the opportunity and greetings also to your hearers. Cindy, before I get into that just to mention that we also studying the report in its entirety and in particular the recommendations. But what we very welcome is the finding that the mission operates completely within the bounds of freedom of religion as per the Constitution as such we can continue to provide the spiritual and the physical assistance to thousands of people which we have been doing for almost 60 years…
1:31: Reporter: Yes, but I just want to address the report as to why there is a need for you to apologise to your members. Yes, we value the constitutional right to association and religious preference and so on, but then the report also says that you need to apologise to your members. If there was no guilt, why does the report say that?
1:54: Combrinck: Cindy, I can’t go into the detail of that at the moment as our team is still studying especially the recommendations. But I will touch on that. The main tag as you mentioned that we take from this report is that the mission is not a cult.
2:17 And if I can just take a step back: the CRL report refers to evidence for a nefarious and coordinated attack on the mission by some individuals who sought to take over the mission’s operations and this attack resulted in widespread allegations against the mission. And the CRL then responded to these to this media uproar and the CRL has now found that the mission is not an illegal and an unconstitutional institution and is operating within the bounds of the right to freedom of religion as in the Constitution. Now it will become clear why I’m going back to this coordinated attack against the mission on your question of apologizing. What the crl commission found implies that the call to boycott aQuellé and other Mission products in order to stop a cult was wrong.
3:31 Cindy I would like to touch on a point of concern and address directly to do with this the point that you have raised of apologizing. Since Thursday the headlines in the media and I’m generalizing have focused on this reference of apologizing as well as a case of rape. Now time doesn’t allow me to go into the details of that but often the reference to this point has been factually and contextually inaccurate because our detractors would like the media to portray these and similar references as findings and judgments against the mission .
4:54 Cindy I would like to appeal to the media to start telling the true story about their tag on the mission…
Aha: so the mission reviews the recommendation to apologize. And it was a “coordinated attack” by people “trying to take over the mission”! It has long been known that KwaSizabantu has a fundamental problem with the truth. So it is again here. Because since there is no result of the alleged “review” of the recommendation of an apology to the victims, Combrinck obviously lied. And: if he claims that there were people who wanted to take over the mission – where is even a tiny proof for this conspiracy-theoretical fantasy? There isn’t. It’s just another lie.
To sum it up, you can’t make it any clearer: Not only has the CRL Commission not moved anything, it has spent three years with occasional palaver without results and has turned out to be an impotent, completely toothless tiger. Not even the meagre recommendation of an apology to the victims is accepted by the Mission. Who needs such a commission? It is also clear: Combrinck and the protagonists of KwaSizabantu have still not understood. And their desire is impudent. It is not the media that needs to be urged to tell the true story about KwaSizabantu – but it is the turn of Mission KwaSizabantu, where young women and girls are still today sweepingly referred to as “fat cows” in sermons, to tell the true story about itself.
Yes, that’s right: the government and the authorities of South Africa have no interest in the suffering of the countless victims of constant abuse of all kinds by this mission calling itself Christian. For where is the Human Rights Commission of South Africa? Where is any politician in the country who is committed to investigating the possible crimes in the mission and getting on the toes of the authorities? Not even from the opposition comes anything! No NGO far and wide, which nevertheless always call so loudly for the observance of the human rights and – where are they all? Have they all lost their voices? One has seldom heard such a roaring silence!
And on this “Mission of Horror”, as News 24 called them, with the blessing of the constitutional body CRL, they can continue to mock: “Nobody’s going to get us!” But wait and see, even if the official’s lack of interest lets them continue and find new victims who will one day run away traumatised: the number of those who have left the KwaSizabantu mission sorely disappointed is many thousands of times higher than the number of those who are still or newly in it.
The Gauteng High Court will receive a review application these days from witnesses who testified before the CRL Commission. Let’s see, maybe that will help.