Divorce may cost Nafcoc boss church job

2013-05-26 06:00

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Leading businessman Reverend Joe Hlongwane may have to step down as president of the International Assemblies of God because he could be headed for the divorce court.

Hlongwane, the CEO of the National African Federated Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Nafcoc), last hit the headlines after he bought a painting of Nelson Mandela for R3.4 million at a January 8 ANC celebration in KwaZulu-Natal earlier this year.

Now his marriage to Reverend Victoria Othelia Hlongwane is allegedly on the rocks, and an official at Nafcoc says she has moved out of their Sandton home and in with relatives in Limpopo.

If the couple divorces, the official said, Hlongwane would be forced to step down because this is against the church’s principles and values.

“They are no longer living together and senior church members are worried about that. This is likely to divide the church as some church leaders will call for his resignation while others will oppose it as he is a good leader,” said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

Hlongwane confirmed he and his wife were having marital problems but said divorce was not on the cards.

“There were differences between me and my wife. I told senior pastors in confidence and what they said was that they needed to speak to my wife... I will never divorce my wife, there is no divorce in church. The day I divorce my wife I will have to step down,” he said.

He also rubbished claims Victoria had moved out, saying he had just taken her home so her parents could talk to her.

“In our culture you take your wife home for her parents to talk to her when you have problems with her,” he said.

He wouldn’t say when she would be back, however.

“It’s none of your business. This thing has just been blown out of proportion by people who lost (Nafcoc) elections. They are just trying to make a big noise about nothing,” he said.

Hlongwane also said news of the separation was leaked by church members hankering for his position.

“The church was very down and I took it to where it is,” he said.

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