KZN severe weather warning: Shembe church says ‘rain means more blessings’ but precautions are being taken during pilgrimage

The Shembe Church is holding its annual pilgrimage. File Picture: Bongani Mbatha African News Agency (ANA)

The Shembe Church is holding its annual pilgrimage. File Picture: Bongani Mbatha African News Agency (ANA)

Published Jan 5, 2023


Durban - The Nazareth Baptist Church (Shembe) Ebuhleni spokesperson Thuthukani Mncwabe says the church is aware of the severe weather warnings issued for the province.

Thousands of Shembe church members are on the annual pilgrimage to the holy mountains in the Ndwedwe Local Municipality. The seven-day pilgrimage is expected to end next week.

On Wednesday, the South African Weather Service (SAWS) issued a warning for disruptive rainfall for large parts of the province on Thursday and Friday. The weather service said the rain could lead to localised flooding.

Asked yesterday if the church was concerned about the warning issued, Mncwabe said if they go to the mountain and it rains it means “the pilgrimage is going well”.

“Everything is going well, the pilgrimage has already started. The God said he will arrive with rain, so the God has arrived, this rain means all of us here, we have been blessed,” he said.

However he said the church had taken heed of the warning and would take precautions if needed.

“We have heard from the South African Weather Service. As much as we are here for the pilgrimage it is also important that everyone here is safe, so we have taken the warnings into consideration,” added Mncwabe.

Ndwedwe Local Municipality spokesperson Victor Malusi said the municipality is aware of the warning issued and the municipality was in contact with the church.

“We are closely monitoring the situation,” said Malusi.

ILembe District Municipality, which Ndwedwe Municipality falls under, said there were currently two Shembe groups on pilgrimage with eBuhleni group at oZwathini mountain and eKuphakameni group at Nhlangakazi mountain.

“All church leaders have been alerted to the warning; including precautionary measures to be taken to prevent damage to infrastructure; cars and congregants.

“The District Disaster Management and other security agencies are also constantly communicating with the two church groups and will advise accordingly on how congregants must move; including diverting the traffic to ensure safety.’’

The municipality added that the district has also submitted a detailed incident management plan to SAPS to deal with other eventualities that are associated with the Shembe pilgrimage.