Last updated on Oct 6th, 2020 at 08:27 am

The KwaZulu-Natal Social Development Department says it will make available officials in its offices to follow up on allegations of abuse in the embattled KwaSizabantu Mission Church.

“We will take up this matter with the relevant unit in our department to try to meet with the victims in order to deal with the situation,” department spokesperson Mhlaba Memela said on Monday.

The church hit headlines on Saturday after News24 published the results of a seven-month investigation into the affairs of the mission, located in the Kranskop area, and allegations of a range of abuses.

The report also alleged senior members accused of rape had been shielded, and that millions of rand had been laundered in the mission’s business operations.

The KwaSizabantu Mission houses the water factory aQuellé and includes 8.5 hectares of greenhouses where produce is grown hydroponically. It also has an extensive avocado farming enterprise.

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According to a report by Business Insider, Pick n Pay and Massmart Holdings who stock produce and water from the mission have demanded answers amid the abuse allegations.

Memela said they encouraged more victims to come forward.

“We appreciate there are people willing to come forward. We hope more will come forward and get assistance from the department.”

He said they wanted to meet with victims to help them deal with their trauma, but also establish criminal cases.

“You have to take them through and help open cases with the police so the [alleged] perpetrators can actually be arrested. After all that has been done, there’s going to be consistent support of the victims to ensure that when the case sits, they are able to narrate the story and able to respond to the courts correctly so that they can secure convictions.”