In a surprise move, the 21-year-old woman who accused popular TV host Bishop Israel Makamu of sexually abusing her has asked the state to drop the charges. Makamu made headlines last month when a voice recording in which he was heard making sexual advances to the woman surfaced online.
A week after the audio clip came to light, the woman – who cannot be named for legal reasons – claimed that Makamu attempted to force himself on her at his Endless Hope Bible Church premises in Alberton on the East Rand.
She was 17 years old at the time.
A case of sexual assault was opened against the Rea Tsotella TV show host at the Midrand Police Station. Makamu was then arrested and appeared in the Palm Ridge Magistrates’ Court a week later. He is out on a R2 000 bail.
The young woman alleged in her statement that Makamu tried to sexually assault her in his church office in Alrode. She claimed that Makamu kissed her, while telling her that he loved her. She said she pushed him away and ran home, which was close to the church.
However, we have learnt that the woman and her family approached the state, saying she wanted to withdraw the case.
The National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) confirmed that the family had been in touch.
“We have been informed that the complainant doesn’t want to pursue the case. We are still awaiting consultation with her so that we can see the withdrawal statement and take it from there.
“The decision has not yet been made,” NPA spokesperson Phindi Mjonondwane told City Press on Friday.
“We are still consulting with her [the victim] and checking if she has really filed the withdrawal statement,” she added.
The woman’s father also confirmed they had approached the prosecutor handling the case and said they wanted to withdraw the case.
“I spoke to the prosecutor on Monday this week and told him that my daughter is fine now, so let’s drop this case,” he said.
However, he declined to comment on the mediation meeting held with Makamu two weeks ago, referring all questions to the mediator.
He said his daughter would go back to school to study nursing in the SA National Defence Force in August.
“I am taking her to the military. I want her to remove herself from this whole situation. She is going to do nursing in the army.”
But three sources who spoke to City Press said that the family decided to withdraw the case following a meeting with the popular pastor, his wife Hloniphile and his legal team. A source said the family opted for a private mediation process following their meeting with the Makamus.
“They are going to draw up a withdrawal statement and sign a mediation agreement,” one of the sources said.
According to the sources, a mediator and representatives from the MojaLove channel, which employs Makamu, were also present at the meeting at the family’s home two weeks ago.
Solomon Ashoms, a close friend who is acting as the mediator, confirmed the meeting took place. He said the family wanted Makamu to apologise to their daughter and take responsibility for his actions.
Ashoms said: “At this point, I can’t reveal anything about that meeting because it is part of the mediation process between Makamu and the family. In due course, we will reveal everything.”
Another source close to Makamu said: “They did meet and everyone said what they wanted to say and apologies were exchanged there and then. The meeting was quite long and at the end of the day Makamu apologised to the woman and she accepted his apology.”
When approached for comment, Makamu said in a text message: “I am not allowed to comment at the moment because the matter is at court.”
The I am Bishop Makamu reality TV show host will be back in court on July 13.
Meanwhile, three more women came forward last month claiming that Makamu had sexually abused them.
According to activist Sihle Sibisi, founder of the Kwanele Mfundisi Foundation, the cases date back to 2015. She said that despite the cases being reported to the police, no action had been taken.