Rea Tsotella television show host and Endless Hope Bible Church pastor Bishop Israel Makamu has broken his silence for the first time since a damning recording of a phone call he had with a young woman surfaced last week.
In an exclusive episode of Moja Love show AmaBishop, which will be televised on the channel tonight, Makamu speaks about the recording, which is at the centre of a criminal case and an investigation by the Commission for the Promotion and Protection of the Rights of Cultural, Religious and Linguistic Communities (CRL Rights Commission).
In exclusive clips of the show, which the publication has seen, Makamu acknowledges that he is the man on the recording and says he has apologized to the family of the woman, even though the audio had been tampered with.
“I have taken a lot of insult. I have nothing to lose. That was my voice in the voice note. I want to be very careful. I am not here to defend myself, I am not here to retaliate, but I will point out a few points that I want you to understand. That conversation was not a complete conversion. That one served its purpose,” Makamu said.
Why would I pay R1 million for something that would never put me in trouble?
He alleged that the recording was tampered with to make it appear as though he was asking for sex from the young woman when he was only asking her for keys to the office of his church.
“I didn’t want to argue. The family had the portion of me speaking, so I decided to take that worst scenario and own up to it, and admit that it was me. I am not owning up here on TV.
“I owned up my responsibility since the first day because the family came and played the audio and I said I was talking about the key,” he said.
Makamu said he first heard about the recording being made public after he was called by Kaya FM informing him that the radio station would be playing it on air.
“They told me that they would play it on Kaya FM. By then, I felt I had paid the price. Their intention of going to the radio station was to embarrass me and I did get embarrassed,” he said.
AmaBishop is anchored by revered television host Nimrod Nkosi and he is joined by panellists and pastors Enoch Phiri, Makhado Ramabulana, and Joshua Maponga in this episode.
Makamu, the star of 13-part reality show I Am Bishop, also rejected claims that the recording was made when the woman was only 17 years old.
“I can tell you now that … it is not 2017, but it is 2018. I know that because our office park was built in 2017. We moved in on March 30 2018. So everything happened in 2018,” he added.
The bishop said he had apologized to the woman’s father.
“Her father knows that I apologized for the misunderstanding. Maybe that is not the apology he expected from me, but I did that and I apologised to my wife as well.”
Makamu has been married to his wife, Hloniphile, since 2005 and they have three children together.
In the episode, Makamu also addresses the matter of the R1 million that he allegedly offered to pay to the family as a bribe, saying it was instead the family that solicited the payment from him.
“Why would I pay R1 million for something that would never put me in trouble? I couldn’t have paid R1 million. I didn’t even have it. Common sense would tell you that. Why would I buy this for R1 million? For what?” he asked.
The alleged victim opened a case of s.e.xual assault against the popular pastor at Midrand Police Station on Wednesday.
In an interview with the publication last week, the father of the woman said the pastor allegedly attempted to have sex with his daughter at his church offices two days before the recording was made.
He reiterated those sentiments during his interview with AmaBishop and added that the man of the cloth allegedly tried on multiple occasions to sleep with his daughter.” He has been luring her in. He was offering her positions,” he said.
The CRL Rights Commission jumped on the case this week after the family revealed that they initially opened a case in 2017 but did not receive any help.
Commission spokesperson Mpiyakhe Mkholo said: “Somebody on behalf of the woman who was allegedly violated by Makamu did call me.
We are trying to discover who they spoke with initially,” he said.
His phone went to voicemail when the publication attempted to get comment on Friday and yesterday.
AmaBishop airs at 9.30 pm on Moja Love, DStv channel 157.