IPHC church leader Michael Sandlana says estranged wife ’lying’ in fresh charges
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Pretoria - The International Pentecost Holiness Church (IPHC) Jerusalem, based in Pretoria, has rubbished the latest fraud allegations reported to the South African Police Service (SAPS) by Magalane Benedicta Sandlana, the estranged wife of IPHC leader Michael Sandlana.
Days after the Alexandra Magistrate’s Court released Sandlana and co-accused on bail in April, Magalane reportedly opened another fraud case with the SAPS Alberton, when she allegedly found out two weeks ago that her Mercedes-Benz C-Class W205, which was previously registered in her name, had its ownership changed.
In the April case, which was reported at SAPS Sandton in April, Magalane complained that she found out that she had been declared dead, and a death certificate had been issued by the Department of Home Affairs. Sandlana was arrested with three others in relation to her estate being put under his executorship.
In a statement issued by Sandlana on Thursday, through his spokesperson Tshepo Phuthi, the church leader said the repeated police cases are part of the bigger leadership wrangle for ultimate control of the IPHC, which has previously been marked by violence and murders.
“In the latest round of allegations, distributed in the mainstream media, Comforter Sandlana’s estranged wife Ms Magalane Benedicta Sandlana is quoted as lamenting that she found out just two weeks ago that ’her vehicle’, a Mercedes-Benz C-Class W205 which was reportedly registered in her name, had its ownership changed to someone else’s without her consent or knowledge,” said Phuti.
“I want to state categorically that Magalane Sandlana is once again lying with clear intent to defame and embarrass Comforter Sandlana. While we do not intend to litigate in the media, as the matter is now also with police and hopefully heading to court, the insinuation in the news article linking and implicating Comforter Sandlana to the second, alleged charge is also vile, like the first allegation, as it is only a continuation of the biased reportage – using the very same journalist.”
Phuti said Sandlana was consulting his legal team, hoping to lay perjury charges against Magalane.
“Through our attorneys, we now seek to open a perjury case against Magalane Sandlana for lying under oath – based on what she is quoted as saying in the media, if indeed she made the same claims to the SAPS. There is documented evidence showing that even last year, when Ms Magalane Sandlana was still married to Comforter Sandlana, she knew fully and acknowledged that the vehicle in question’s ownership had been transferred to Songo Defence and Investments (Pty) Limited, which at the time she co-owned,” said Phuthi.
“This transfer of ownership happened when she was still in the marriage, and it is a blue lie and hypocrisy for her to now claim she found out ’only two weeks ago’. It could be that Ms Magalane forgets that she has previously deposed an affidavit, as part of divorce proceedings, acknowledging that the car was now an asset of Songo Defence and Investments.”
Phuthi, who was one of the directors of Songo Defence and Investments (Pty) Ltd, said the vehicle was added into the company’s books as an equity contribution, along with other vehicles financed through a loan from another entity.
Priest Vusi Ndala, spokesperson for the IPHC Jerusalem, said the regular newspaper reports “are a blatant attempt to try and convict Comforter Sandlana in the infamous court of public opinion”.
“One can now clearly see that the sustained newspaper articles are becoming evidently part of the unrelenting barrage of disingenuous, one-sided mainstream media reports and social media posts pursuing a narrative to stain Comforter Sandlana, by trying him in the court of public opinion. What stands out is that, when these newspaper reports are written, we are not afforded the sacrosanct right to reply,” said Ndala.
Magalane told the Sowetan newspaper that she discovered that the car ownership had been changed without her knowledge when she attempted to renew the vehicle’s licence disc last month.
“I was confused because my vehicle’s licence expires on April 30. I went to the traffic department and I was then informed that I was no longer the owner (of my vehicle). I was told the ownership was changed,” she was quoted as saying by the publication.
The well-known church, which boasts a three-million strong membership in South Africa and neighbouring countries, has been engulfed in a bitter three-way conflict to succeed Glayton Modise, who had inherited it from his father and founder Frederick Samuel Modise in 1998.
There are three main contenders, Glayton Modise's two sons Frederick Leonard Goitsemang and Tshepiso, and Michael Sandlana – reportedly Glayton Modise's son out of wedlock.
Leonard Modise leads the IPHC group based in Zuurbekom, while Sandlana leads the Pretoria faction, and Tshepiso runs the third splinter group.
Sandlana reportedly leads about 90% of the church branches and has the support of most IPHC priests on the church council.