CRL commission holds hearing

Kwasizabantu Mission 'pushed our families off land'

KwaSizabantu, which started as a humble Christian mission in 1970, is at the centre of an investigation after allegations of abuse.
KwaSizabantu, which started as a humble Christian mission in 1970, is at the centre of an investigation after allegations of abuse.
Image: Thuli Dlamini

The first witness in the Gauteng leg of the CRL commission's probe into alleged abuse at the Kwasizabantu Mission in KwaZulu-Natal says he and his community were pushed out of their rightful land violently by the church.

Ishmael Khuzwayo says a group of people in KwaZulu-Natal were provided with land by the government after it was sold by the previous owner Martin Stevens. But they were surprised after the same man then allegedly re-sold the land to the church.

“We were very happy that we could have land but the previous owner sold the land again fraudulently to Kwasizabantu,” he told the commission.

He said there were originally 17 families that built a small informal settlement on the land but Stevens brought more people onto the land because he allegedly wanted more money from the government.

According to Khuzwayo, the government then paid Stevens more money before he sold the land again to Kwasizabantu.

In response, a committee was formed by the community to negotiate with the church but their leader signed off on forms without communicating with the community, he said.

He said they put in another community leader who was allegedly threatened with a gun by the police to sign the forms.

“This was my father and he refused to sign the form.”

Khuzwayo said that when they went to inquire about the title deeds at the land affairs office, they could not find the copies and subsequently had to move from the land to a place where they could not farm or let their animals graze.

The hearing continues.

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