Nkanyezi Church of Christ Bishop Bheki Timothy Ngcobo. Picture: Facebook
Nkanyezi Church of Christ Bishop Bheki Timothy Ngcobo. Picture: Facebook

Controversial Bishop Ngcobo 'on mountain with God to defeat Covid-19 pandemic'

By Bongani Hans Time of article published Apr 1, 2020

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Durban - Controversial Durban Zionist Bishop Bheki Timothy Ngcobo has allegedly violated the nationwide Covid-19 lockdown by leaving his home to go to a mountain in Ndwedwe outside Durban to pray for the end of the coronavirus. 

The bishop, who is also a founding leader of a new political party, the African Freedom Revolution (AFR), was recently slammed for calling on Christians to disobey President Cyril Ramaphosa’s instruction that there should be no gathering of more than 100 people. The president declared a state of disaster almost two weeks ago and last week announced strict lockdown measures to curb the coronavirus spreading in the country. 

EFF leader Julius Malema and KZN Premier Sihle Zikalala were among those who condemned Ngcobo. 

Ngcobo claimed to be leader of the Church of iNkanyezi Church Of Christ and spokesperson for the South African Zionist Churches Association. 

After Ngcobo's comments, the Hlangana Zion of KZN, an association of zionists churches in the province distanced itself from Ngcobo. 

Bishop Thulani Gwala, the president of Hlangana Zion of KZN, said Ngcobo was not speaking on their behalf and apologised to Ramaphosa. His decision to leave his house to pray on a "mountain" could be construed as a further defiance of the lockdown after he also made comments prior that Ramaphosa was not God. He made those comments as he made his intentions clear his church would still go ahead with its Easter services. 

On Tuesday, Phumzile Ngcobo, who identified herself as Ngcobo's sister, said she was handling the bishop’s cellphone until he was back from the prayer session in the mountain. 

“I only contact him if there is something urgent that needs his attention or check on him to see if he is still okay physically. I also pass on any messages he wants to convey to the church or to individual(s) and send whatever (message) he wants me to send,” reads a message Phumzile had sent to various WhatsApp groups, which Ngcobo is a member of.

When contacted on Ngcobo’s phone, Phumzile said her brother left the family home four days ago on March 27, after the lockdown had started, and would be back home on April 18, two days after the end of the lockdown. 

“He left alone for the mountain,” she said. 

She said she was unaware whether or not Ngcobo had received authorisation to leave the confines of his home.   

A day after Ngcobo left for the mountain, Church of INkanyezi Church of Christ circulated a WhatsApp message saying that it had permitted its bishop to voluntarily go to the mountain alone to be with God to “defeat this Covid-19 pandemic”.

“Before Bishop TB Ngcobo left he urged the church INkanyezi and SAZC together with all other associated churches to fast and pray for the country crisis till he comes back and emphasised that God is on our side,” read the statement.

Political Bureau

* For the latest on the Covid-19 outbreak visit IOL's #Coronavirus trend page

** If you think you have been exposed to the Covid-19 virus, please call the government's 24-hour hotline on 0800 029 999 or go to SA Coronavirus for more information.

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