Vela Shembe comes out victorious in church leadership battle

2016-10-18 16:26

(File, AFP)

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Durban - The KwaZulu-Natal High Court in Durban on Tuesday declared Vela Shembe the legitimate leader of the multi-million member Shembe church.

This after a protracted court battle which has dragged on since 2011.

Vela Shembe and his nephew Mduduzi Shembe, who is the son of late leader Vimbeni Shembe, have been fighting over control of the church.

The tug of war erupted in 2011, on the day of Vimbeni's funeral, when his childhood friend, Inkosi Mqoqi Ngcobo, announced that Mduduzi was the rightful heir to the throne. The speaker who followed him, Zwelibanzi Buthelezi, who had been Vimbeni's lawyer, had read the deed of nomination in which he announced that Vela was the successor.

Outside the courtroom there was a high police presence, including metro police and SAPS public order and tactical response units.

After about three hours inside court on Tuesday, Mduduzi was whisked away. He was followed shortly by Vela and his followers who celebrated in song.

The church is known to be among the richest in Africa, with assets worth hundreds of millions.

Read more on:    durban  |  religion

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