Shembe church ‘knew about’ new leader

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iol news pic  Vimbeni Shembe INLSA File Photo: Late leader of the Shembe church, Vimbeni Shembe.

Members of the Nazareth Baptist Church, also known as Shembe, knew their new leader would be anointed at a meeting held on the south coast, the Durban High Court heard on Wednesday.

“When I went to the meeting in April, I knew the leader of the church would be anointed, but I was expecting it to be Mduduzi Shembe,” church member Wiseman Dladla said.

A leadership dispute in the Shembe Church arose in April with the death of Vimbeni Shembe, the leader of the church's largest faction.

Last month, the court heard that Ä according to a will Ä

Vimbeni chose his cousin Vela Shembe as his successor.

However, senior leaders of the church want Vimbeni's son Mduduzi to take the reins.

A recording of a DVD taken during a meeting where it was believed Mduduzi was anointed as the leader of the church was played in court.

Dladla spoke of the manner in which Mduduzi Shembe carried himself.

“When Mduduzi departed from the house as he was going to the temple, members of the church kneeled and praised him saying Amen. You are the holy one.”

Mdudu wore a hat, shoes and a gown at the meeting.

Dladla told the court that only a leader of the church would be allowed to wear those items.

“It was clear that he 1/8Mduduzi 3/8 had been directed to be the leader of the church.”

The DVD also showed Reverend Mbongwa Nzama telling church members that the court had brought an interdict against Mduduzi and that the anointment ceremony would not take place.

Dladla said that when Chief Mqoqi Ngcobo announced Mduduzi as the leader, he expected him to say he had been instructed by Vimbeni to make the announcement.

He said he accepted the Vimbeni's lawyer Zwelabantu Buthelezi's announcement of Vela Shembe as his successor, because he had said “the Lord has said”.

After the lunch adjournment, Mduduzi came to court for the first time.

The matter continues on Thursday, December 08, 2011. - Sapa

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