IPHC Jerusalem warns of ongoing incitement, seizure of church property

Africa National

08 October 2020

Staff Reporter/PretoriaLIVE

PRETORIA – The International Pentecostal Holiness Church (IPHC) Jerusalem division led by Michael Sandlana has narrated a hostile takeover of its branch premises in North West province, despite the truce and mediation by the Commission for the Promotion and Protection of the Rights of Cultural, Religious and Linguistic Communities (CRL Rights Commission) after the deadly shooting at Zuurbekom branch led by Leonard Modise.

Spokesperson of the IPHC Jerusalem, Priest Vusi Ndala said apart from the takeover, an Eskom employee aligned to the Zuurbekom faction has recently instructed his collegues to cut off electricity at premises under the control of the IPHC Jerusalem in Limpopo.

“These two developments are not linked but their coincidence and occurrence in the same week just two days apart makes an interesting assessment. Both acts are instigating and inciting violence and in contradiction to the commitment made by all factions at the CRL Rights Commission in July to stop the violence following the mediation process that took place between the 22nd and 24th July,” said Ndala.

“This is also against the order of the Westonaria Magistrate’s Court where the magistrate, at the bail application of those that were arrested following the 11th July incident in Zuurbekom, ordered that no member should instigate and incite violence at any of the respective factions’ premises.”

Ndala said the IPHC in Jerusalem, feels vindicated about its pronouncements following the deadly shooting on 11 July, and would continue to abide by the commitment made during the CRL Rights Commission’s mediation, advocating for peace and awaiting the court’s finals decision on the matter.

Earlier, Ndala explained that on Tuesday, a group of men who identified themselves as police officers, arrived at the IPHC Jerusalem’s facility in Lebotloane village in North West province, with four vehicles with no registration number plates.

“The vehicles were identified as a Nissan X-Trail (new model), a BMW 650, a Polo GTI and a VW Scirocco. The people in this group then introduced themselves to our day security and church members who work at the facility as members of the “intelligence services” sent to our premises following a tip off about firearms inside our premises. They also claimed that they were in possession of an eviction letter from the Bedwang police station in the North West province. This group was with a Captain Letsoko from the Tactical Response Team (TRT) in Pretoria,” said Ndala.

“Interestingly, the Captain and a Sergeant from the Bedwang police station had no knowledge of the eviction letter let alone this operation. Both the Captain and the Sergeant were on the scene when this group locked the premises with newly purchased locks, and handed the keys over to Chief Nawa – the local chief.”

Ndala said on entering the premises, the group searched the security officers at the premises, who were in possession of firearms that are fully licenced and compliant with the law.

“They subsequently chased out our security officers and all other church members and workers on the premises. It was now apparent at this stage that the purported “intelligence” operation was pretence and a bogus operation to enter and occupy the facility. On hearing about this invasion, our initial reaction would have been to immediately dispatch additional security officers from our Jerusalem main facility, in Rabokala, to intervene and manage the situation,” he narrated.

But we are a peace-loving and God-fearing people who have taken lessons from previous and recent events where there was bloodshed and finger-pointing. Learning from the incident of the 11th July in Zuurbekom, where people died during an operation of a similar modus operandi, our leadership was informed that the invaders at Lebotloane strongly warned that should there be any person or group of security coming in to intervene, the invaders would not hesitate to shoot to kill.”

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