Delay in Shembe trial

2011-12-13 18:43
Durban - The trial involving two feuding factions of the Nazareth Baptist Church, popularly known as the Shembe Church, was adjourned until next year by the KwaZulu-Natal High Court in Durban on Tuesday.

"I have indicated to counsel that the matter will commence on March 19," Judge Achmat Jappie said.

Archie Findlay, SC, for Vela Shembe, told the court he needed time go through the five files presented as new evidence by Mduduzi Shembe's attorney.

The matter was delayed earlier when Rajesh Choundre, SC, brought new evidence that would affect the testimony of Chance Sibisi, general secretary of the Shembe Church.

On Friday Sibisi told the court the wife of the late leader, Ndlunkulu KaMaseko, knew the name of the person he nominated to lead it.

Sibisi testified that she had told him: "The letter that was delivered to attorney Zwelabantu Buthelezi on March 16 holds the name of the leader. I will say it with great respect, it's Vela Shembe.

"Choundre wanted attorney Dunstan Farrell to testify and he also wanted the court to view a DVD recording.

"Attorney Farrell has a wealth of information regarding the history of the church," Choundre said.

Findlay argued that it was only fair he view the evidence brought by Choundre before it was presented to the court.

The Shembe Church has been embroiled in a leadership battle since the death of Vimbeni Shembe, leader of its largest faction.

Last month, the court heard that, according to a will, Vimbeni chose his cousin Vela as his successor.

However, some senior leaders of the church want Vimbeni's son Mduduzi to take the reins.

Read more on:    durban  |  religion

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