‘Umbutho ngowam, imali yeyam

2016-04-07 06:00
This is a communication between the members who are on each other’s neck.

This is a communication between the members who are on each other’s neck.

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Zwelonke Burial Association members are at each other’s neck, not long after the formation was established.

Based in Khayelitsha, members are already accusing its founder of fraud, claiming non-burial of members, and living in fear of their lives after exposing the shenanigans of the founder.

The founder’s name is known to City Vision, but cannot be named because he has not appeared in court on any of the allegations levelled against him.

He is also the founder and former Archbishop of the United Nations Christian Church, which has since ceased to exist, with congregants citing embezzlement on his part. Zwelonke Burial Association, which has about 500 members, was formed in 2015.

Lieutenant Marcellus Rajap, corporate communication at Khayelitsha Police Station, confirmed that a case of fraud was being investigated by the police and that no arrests have been made at the time of going to press.

Three committee members have come forward with information they claim is authentic, alleging that funds are misused and that a number of members had their burial claims for relatives turned down without so much as a valid explanation.

However, Princess Lusaseni, the founder’s mother, who also doubles up as the secretary, dismissed all the claims against her son, saying it was only a minute faction of members who wanted to oust her son.

The members said they started noticing that there was something fishy about the use of funds in early March after one of them was not paid for a claim.

“We then started investigating why, and we discovered that the bank account was in his name.”

The members, in desperation, approached local station Radio Zibonele to make a public statement, warning members about the allegations of possible fraud and asking that they should no longer pay their dues into the account.

Soon thereafter, the three claim, they received Whatsapp messages and cellphone calls threatening them with death. They were sent from the cellphone of the founder, they claim. “We also received calls from numbers we could not identify.”

One of the members showed City Vision texted communication between him and the founder.

One reads: “Icawa le uthi ndatya Mali yayo yeyam kwakuneka ityiwe ngubani xa ngazuba ndim? nombutho ke ikwa ngowam ndizoyitya bendiwenzela ingatyiwa ngotsotsi abafaka imali ebank ngo 20:00 bakuva ba umntu wabo ubhubhile. umntu ongafuni kutyelwa Mali ngu maseti maka fokofe embuthweni wam.(sic)”. Basically admitting to misusing the church funds and raiding Zwelonke’s purse. In one sentence of the text he asks: “If not me, who else.”

At a meeting in Solomon Tshuku Hall in Site C, chaos reigned supreme as other members were denied access by taxi ownersand drivers allegedly hired by the founder.

“Only those who possesed receipts of payment for April were allowed into the hall,” they further claimed.

One of the agrieved members is Cebo Sithole, who claims that he was not paid for a claim to bury his cousin, Sylvester Kola, who died in March this year.

“I think justice was not done there, because I was up to date with my payments.

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