’Biased’ chairperson at CRL Commission hearings asked to recuse himself
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Durban – Drama unfolded on Wednesday at the CRL Commission hearings into the allegations of cultism, gross human rights violation, and sexual abuse against the members of the KwaSizabantu Mission.
The commission was expected to hear the evidence of the leaders of the church, responding to the allegations, but the mission’s lawyers came and accused the commission of having already taken sides on the matter.
Eight witnesses had so far testified before the commission since the hearings began on Monday.
Allegations of rape, abuse, racism, were made by the victims, dating back from the 1990s at the mission and at the mission school.
Keith Matthee, the legal representative of the church, said they were disappointed by the biased comments that had been made by the commission in the media this week.
He said in the interview the commission chairperson said: "What happens in KwaSizabantu is not religion, but it's abuse of religion.“
He asked commission chairperson, David Mosoma, to recuse himself, because he said it was clear Mosoma had already made a conclusion.
"It's clear that you have already made your decision. If you're not prepared to recuse yourself, then we need to consider our options," said Matthee.
He said the mission was only summoned last Friday and it was not aware of the hearings until two days ago from a third party.
He accused the commission of trying to be seen as doing its work, saying that was why the media had been part of the hearings from the beginning.
Mosoma said the decision was not taken by one person, but by all five members of the commission.
"The process involves the side of the complainants, and then the institution before a report is drawn up by the commission with its recommendations. Our objective is to promote and protect religion," said Mosoma.
He said what he told the media was a summary of the allegations levelled by the witnesses against the mission.
"I said it cannot be religion that women are raped, and abused. We are not here to judge anyone. These allegations are damming against the institution.
“The commission has a responsibility to listen to both sides and if the allegations can be corroborated, only then will the institution be found to be in violation. We want to hear from you what happened and what did not happen," said Mosoma.