Church harbouring Ngcobo massacre suspects no stranger to controversy

Ngcobo – The church where a group of gunmen involved in the Ngcobo massacre were hiding is no stranger to controversy, having been raided by police two years ago to remove children who were reportedly being prevented from going to school.

In February 2016, police and social workers had to forcefully enter the Mancoba Seven Angel's Ministries church in Nyanga village to remove 18 children that were reportedly not allowed to go to school.

READ: 18 children taken from Eastern Cape church must go to school

It was also reported at the time that older members of the church were forbidden from working and engaging with people outside of the church.

The ministry has been run by seven brothers – Xolisa, Thandazile, Banele, Philile, Phuthumile, Benjamin and Ephraim Mancoba – following the death of their father in 2015.

Following the incident, in March 2016, Ngcobo residents, the SA Council of Churches and ANC members marched for the Angel's Ministry Church to be closed down. The petition said while the church's rights were recognised, its teachings were morally wrong.

Zamindawo Gqira, of the Council of Churches, said at the time that they did not recognise Angel's Ministry as a church.

On Saturday morning, police were again removing children from the church hostels, this time due to it being an active crime scene, following a shootout with the gang allegedly behind the killing of several police officers on Wednesday. Seven of the gang members were killed and ten others arrested.

READ: Ngcobo massacre: Seven suspects dead after police shootout

At least 20 children have been removed from the church compound since the shootout.

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