Prayers credited for a calmer Pongola

2014-07-16 00:00

PERSISTENT prayers have been answered now that vigilante violence in Pongola, which has been rocked by the find of a dismembered toddler, has stopped.

Pastors, whose profession came under attack when the mutilated parts of a four-year-old boy were found inside a church premises nearly two weeks ago, yesterday credited the continual prayers for bringing calm to the town.

They have been participating in community prayers and have all been calling for peace since the shocking find came to light.

The situation in the town has been tense since Lungisani “Kiki” Ntuli’s mutilated body was discovered in room adjacent to a local church.

The boy’s death became national news when a photo emerged on social networks of his dismembered body — just 24 hours after it was found.

Yesterday NPF leader Zanele Magwaza-Msibi addressed a large crowd at a prayer meeting hosted by the Zululand District Municipality. The Pongola Pastors’ Fellowship is expected to host a mass prayer soon.

“At the moment there is peace in the community and it is definitely because of prayer. God is in Pongola,” said Fellowship chairperson Pastor Johnson Zondo.

“Many of the local pastors have been telling their congregants that things happen beyond our control but that God will protect his people.”

Residents have torched the St John’s Apostolic Faith Mission, a house belonging to the pastor of the church ­Zeblon Nkosi and the home of a woman they accused of selling “muthi” products. The local magistrate court building was also torched and looted in the Ncotshane township just outside the border trading town.

Nkosi, who was the state’s prime suspect until his release last Friday when the state refused to prosecute due to insufficient evidence, was until this weekend still in Pongola. Attempts to contact him were unsuccessful.

According to police sources, he was “warned” on release about the anger of the community. While he has been offered no protection, the police have continued to provide protection for his home in Pongola, fearing it may be torched by vigilantes.

Pastor Ndumiso Ngema, whose own church sits across the road from where some of the dismembered body parts of Lungisani were found, said each pastor is attempting to win back the lost confidence in the church.

“On Sunday my sermon focused on the background and creation of the church as it is written in the Book of Matthew in the New Testament. A church can only exist if it is built on the confession that Jesus Christ is the son of God. We have been praying for the community. The church should be a place that supports a community. We want that trust back,” said Ngema.

The SAPS confirmed that various items of evidence have been sent for ­forensic testing.

Kiki’s funeral will be held at a local community hall on Saturday.

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