Faction of International Pentecostal Holiness Church ’vindicated’ after murder cases against members crumble in court
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Pretoria – The case against 42 people who were arrested by the police in 2020 in connection with the deadly violence at the Leonard Modise-led faction of the International Pentecostal Holiness Church (IPHC) premises in Zuurbekom, Gauteng, has been struck off the court roll.
The group of men had made court appearances in the Westonaria Magistrate’s Court charged with murder, attempted murder and malicious damage to property.
In a turn of events, the IPHC at Jerusalem led by “Successor” Michael Sandlana said the SAPS had failed dismally in its bid to pin the 42 people to the crime which took place at Zuurbekom.
“The IPHC congregating at Jerusalem, under the leadership of His Grace, Successor MG Sandlana, is once again vindicated with regards to the July 2020 Zuurbekom massacre where five members of the IPHC at Jerusalem were killed gruesomely,” said spokesperson Priest Vusi Ndala in a media advisory.
“Following the brutal massacre in July 2020, the Zuurbekom faction of the IPHC used its crooked connections within the SAPS to heap unwarranted accusations, unsubstantiated allegations and to lay criminal cases against the IPHC in Jerusalem, particularly Successor MG Sandlana.”
Ndala was on Thursday morning scheduled to address journalists in Pretoria, to unpack the withdrawal of the charges against the 42 men.
“The lack of evidence in court, after almost two years of court proceedings, has vindicated the IPHC at Jerusalem. We are now placing our trust into the hands of the National Prosecuting Authority to open an inquest into the death of our five church members,” he said.
National Prosecuting Authority spokesperson in Gauteng Phindi Mjonondwane confirmed that the case against the 42 has been struck off the court roll.
In July 2020, the NPA said among the “assailants” was an attorney, a member of the South African National Defence Army (SANDF) and a SAPS official.
The well-known church, which boasts a three million membership in South Africa and neighbouring countries, has been engulfed in a bitter three-way conflict to succeed Glayton Modise, who "inherited" the church from his father and founder, "Comforter" Frederick Samuel Modise, in 1998.
There has been intensive conflict between the three main contenders – Glayton Modise's two sons, Frederick Leonard Goitsemang and Tshepiso, and Sandlana, reported in the media as Modise's son out of wedlock – to take over the reins of the church.