Opposition against waiver granted to church

2017-11-29 06:00
PHOTO: SUPPLIEDShembe Church members at the Pietermaritzburg High Court during the appeal hearing.

PHOTO: SUPPLIEDShembe Church members at the Pietermaritzburg High Court during the appeal hearing.

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A REQUEST by the Nazareth Baptist Church, Shembe, to the Msunduzi Municipality that the organisation is exempt from municipal service charges at a appeal hearing at the Pietermaritzburg High Court last month, was passed by Exco last Thursday.

Exco’s resolution was taken despite opposition from the Democratic Alliance.From October 23 to 25 Shembe Church members arrived in Pietermaritzburg for the hearing.

The appeal was filed by Mduduzi Shembe, son of the late leader Vimbeni Shembe, after the eThekwini High Court ruled last year that his uncle, Vela Shembe, is the rightful successor.

At the hearing, Mduduzi’s supporters from the Ebuhleni faction met at Dales Park.

An agreement was reached between the municipality and the Ebuhleni group representatives that the park be made available for 10 000 members who were to attend the hearing.

The Ebuhleni faction submitted an application for assistance to the Msunduzi Council asking for three water tankers and waste collection bags.

However, the services provided by the municipality included traffic and security services and standby fire and rescue and disaster management services, totalling R306 350.

DA Exco member, Glen McArthur said his opposition to the church’s request for a waiver of the fees is that council should not been seen as favouring one faction of the two religious groups contesting for the organisation’s leadership.

The Thembezihle group adhered to the court’s decision that 80 church members, 40 from each side, would be allowed into court.

“I have no knowledge of the goings-on of the church and my viewpoint is not hinged on matters of faith, rather I believe whichever organisation undertakes to bring members should bear those costs,” McArthur said.

DA caucus leader, Sibongiseni Majola said the decision to grant the waiver would be seen as the municipality supporting one side of the two groups.

IFP Exco member Dennis Ntombela said had the church been asked to pay for certain council services at Dales Park then such a decision would have been an injustice.

Msunduzi Municipality spokesperson Thobeka Mafumbatha could not be reached for comment at the time of going to press as she was in a meeting.

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