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Shembe Church in court over leadership dispute

Some Shembe priests and followers from the eBuhleni faction assemble outside the Durban High Court in support of Mduduzi Shembe, the son of Vimbeni Shembe, the church leader who died in March. PICTURE: PATRICK MTOLO

Some Shembe priests and followers from the eBuhleni faction assemble outside the Durban High Court in support of Mduduzi Shembe, the son of Vimbeni Shembe, the church leader who died in March. PICTURE: PATRICK MTOLO

Published Aug 30, 2011

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Nompumelelo Magwaza

THE TWO Nazareth Baptist Shembe Church factions involved in a bitter tussle over the leadership of the church will square up in a two-week-long evidence hearing in November after the matter was adjourned by the Durban High Court yesterday.

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The church has been in disagreement over who the rightful leader should be since the death of Vimbeni Shembe, in March.

Two people have laid claim to the successor’s title: Mduduzi Shembe and Vela Shembe.

Two months ago the court issued an interdict against Mduduzi, son of the former leader of the eBuhleni faction of the religious group, preventing him from calling himself the church leader.

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This was after Vela brought applications to have himself declared head of the church.

Vela says that before his death, Vimbeni nominated him to take over the church. He also says he has proof of his nomination.

Meanwhile, Mduduzi was named head of the church at his father’s funeral on April 3.

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The evidence from both sides will be heard from November 14 to 25.

While the matter took only about 20 minutes to be heard, hundreds of Shembe followers were seen gathering in groups in Durban’s city centre yesterday after they were barred by police from marching en-masse from Botha’s Park in Dr Pixley KaSeme (West) Street to the Durban High Court. The followers gathered in Albert Park.

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