PORT ELIZABETH - An Eastern Cape police multi-disciplinary team descended on the small rural town of Ngcobo to complete a mammoth task of erasing graffiti on the mountain above the home of the controversial Mancoba Seven Angels Church.
Police said the work to remove the writing started earlier this week when members undertook the dangerous task of cleaning the mountains of all red and white graffiti.
Five police officers and a soldier were shot dead during an attack at the Ngcobo police station earlier in February. Six people have since been arrested for the massacre and have been linked to the Seven Angels Church.
The church has since been shut down and dozens of women and children were rescued following a bloody shootout at its compound during a raid between suspects and a police task force.
The church has been described as a cult, where women were reportedly kept from finding jobs and their children were not allowed to attend school.
Police spokesperson, Captain Khaya Tonjeni, said police were responding to a request by community members to erase the writings as neither consent nor permission from authorities had been given to the then church members.
Tonjeni said due to the controversy surrounding the church, there was a consensus to remove all of the graffiti: "The members had to climb up the mountain on the outskirts of town using advanced access and mountain climbing methods in order to reach the highly placed writings on the wall. A large part was erased using black paint to cover the red and white paint."
Tonjeni said the operation was time consuming and would be completed later this week. A cleansing ceremony is expected to be led by Weziwe Tikana, MEC for Safety,Liaison and Transport, in partnership with SAPS.
African News Agency/ANA