Joe Mafela. Picture: Dumisani Sibeko

Johannesburg – After trending for the latter part of Wednesday and Thursday, The Grace Bible Church has broken it’s silence on the uproar following the alleged request made by the family of late comedian and musician Joe Mafela, the church has said it is a private matter between them and the family.

This follows a Facebook post by former Generations actor Mangaliso Ngema in which he said Grace had requesting that the family pay R89 000 to have the veteran’s memorial service at the church.

In a statement that was signed by the church’s leadership, it said that church members were not charged for the use of the facilities.

“Grace Bible Church is a not for profit organisation with church facilities in areas where it is operational. The facilities have been funded by the members and serves their needs. Communities in which the organisation operates sometimes request to use the church facilities and their requests are handled by the facilities division. They then quote based on the request,” the statement read.

Grace Bible Church charges R89K for #JoeMafelaMemorial?

The statement further added that the matter relating particularly to Mafela’s memorial, was private and the church would not disclose details.

“GBC reserves the right to discuss the terms with families and organisers as it standard with other facilities and does not comment publicly on such issues which can only be disclosed by organisers or families,” it added.

Ngema has since put up an apology post, stating that it was unfair of him to comment on the issue because he was not an official spokesperson for the church.

Friends and relatives, I need to make a public apology for posting about the Mafela family and Grace Bible church. I was not appointed spokesperson for the family and neither did I seek consent from them for posting.”

“I took the matter personally because of my own struggle with the church system. It was really in bad taste that I brought the grieving family unnecessary distress at a time like this. I am pleading that we all exercise some respect henceforth. My heartfelt apologies go to the Mafela family and relatives, as well as all people who have been affected by this,” he said.

The Star