Ngcobo - The South African Council of Churches has joined calls for the shutdown of Seven Angels Church, used as a hideaway by the gang allegedly responsible for the deadly attack on the Ngcobo police station last week.
The SACC on Tuesday expressed disappointment that criminal gangs with weapons were found sheltered in a church.
Last week Wednesday five police officers and an off-duty soldier were killed during the robbery at the Ngcobo Police Station. Two days after the incident, police killed seven suspects, arrested 10 and injured three, on the premises of Mancoba's Seven Angels Church.
Speaking at the memorial service of the five police officers and the soldier, SACC President in Eastern Cape, Reverend Lulama Ntshingwa, said Seven Angels is a cult that must be shut down.
"We are calling for the shutdown of that house which is referred to as church," he said. "We have sent the local leadership of SACC to go and meet with the leadership of that church because we believe this is a cult."
Earlier in the service, Eastern Cape Premier Phumulo Masualle said the conduct of Seven Angels is not the kind of conduct expected from churches. "That is not the church from how I know churches, it's just a cult disguising as church," said Masualle.
He said possible violations of human rights happening within such premises was not expected in the place that is known as a church.
Masualle said: "People have rights, but those rights do not permit anyone to do as pleased. There's no individual rights that can surpass children's rights to education, no church can stand in the way of a child's education, no church can do that."
He called on rural communities not to permit any kind of strange behaviour in their communities. "We live different from urban people, in rural areas everyone who does something is known by the community as no one can just slaughter for any kind of ceremony without notifying the chief of the area."
African News Agency/ANA