THERE was joy and ululation outside the Greytown Magistrate’s Court on Monday as the pastor and prophet Sbusiso Makhanya of Abandoned Life Fellowship “Ntabadilika” (church), convicted of kidnapping and assault in 2017, was released on parole. The Greytown Gazette reported on November 8, 2017 that Makhanya was sentenced to four years in prison for assaulting and kidnapping a man who had broken into his home in eNhlalakahle. Senior congregants demonstrating at the court believe that Makhanya was not guilty of the crimes, claiming that the others involved were responsible for the crimes.“He [Makhanya] didn’t assault the victim. He was punished for the sins of other members of the church who assaulted the victim,” said one of the congregants. Speaking to the Greytown Gazette outside the Greytown Magistrate’s Court, Makhanya thanked his supporters who had come in their numbers and staged a convoy from Greytown CBD to eNhlalakahle. “I was convicted in October 2017. Today I am over the moon that I have been released on parole. “It’s amazing to see the people coming out to support me. I cannot express my feelings,” Makhanya said. A senior pastor at the church, Mduduzi Gwananda, said: “We are very grateful for what God has done for us. “I would also like to thank his [Makhanya] wife, who kept the ministry strong while Prophet Makhanya was in jail. As a congregation we are grateful that God answered our constant prayers,” he said. Of the other men involved in the case, Lindokuhle Mhlongo was sentenced to 18 months’ imprisonment and Kwandile Zondi, Sphephelo Chonco and Thabiso Zondi were given suspended sentences. According to a story published in the Greytown Gazette in 2017, Makhanya and the four men took the man [victim] to a location in a township where they assaulted him before taking him to the Abandoned Life Fellowship church where he was severely beaten and burnt. The man was later treated for his injuries in hospital.