Soweto TV has relented to viewers pressure and announced it has stopped airing the sermons of rape accused Bishop Bafana Stephen Zondo of the Rivers of Living Waters Ministries.
The newly-elected board of Soweto TV on Wednesday said It has “with immediate effect” removed all of Bishop Zondo’s content from its platform.
Last month, on 15 November, Bishop Zondo went on trial in the high court in Pretoria facing 10 counts of rape, indecent assault, and defeating the ends of justice.
Since the trial began viewers questioned why Soweto TV continued to broadcast Bishop Zondo’s sermons.
However, on Wednesday Soweto TV said: “the board came into office in November and is looking at improving on the policies and procedures of the station as well as helping the station regain its reputation as the voice of the people of Soweto.
Soweto TV said it had been made aware that Bishop Zondo was appearing in court on rape charges.
“After careful consideration and deep reflection, the board decided that it is best that the matter of Bishop Zondo be concluded first and then decide on a permanent position on airing the content,” said the board.
“Although by no means is our decision a pronouncement on the guilt or otherwise of Bishop Zondo, we believe the charges are of a very serious nature and we are morally bound to suspend the content until the matter is concluded.
“South Africa is facing a serious scourge of gender-based violence and as a responsible channel, we cannot be tone-deaf to these matters.”
The board said while the content delivered by Bishop Zondo was “both spiritually uplifting and important for audiences”, the television station could not turn a blind eye to rape allegations.
“We hope that the courts will conclude the matter speedily so that we can also take a final decision on the content of the Rivers of Living Waters Ministries,” said the board.