Judgment reserved in bishop's case

2014-09-01 21:39

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Pietermaritzburg - The Pietermaritzburg High Court on Monday reserved judgment in a case about restoring a former bishop to his role and authority.

The application was opposed by Archbishop Thabo Makgoba, head of the Anglican Church of Southern Africa and synods.

Peter Blomkamp, for Mlibo Ngama, of Umzimvubu in KwaZulu-Natal, said following complaints of his client's alleged divisive conduct, Makgoba and Ngama agreed Ngama would temporarily relinquish his roles. These would be assumed by the archbishop.

The aim was to give space and time for a provincial task team to work out a solution to the divisions in his diocese.

Ngama relinquished his roles and Makgoba exercised them through a vicar general.

Gavin Morley SC, for Makgoba, said there were nasty upshots.

The first vicar general resigned as he feared for his safety. The task team head resigned because he was allegedly racist towards Ngama.

Blomkamp said the task team completed its work and recommended to the synod of bishops that Ngama resume his duties in the hopes of achieving reconciliation in the Umzimvubu diocese.

It noted a forensic report on the complaints of alleged mismanagement of church money and property.

The synod of bishops declined to ask Ngama to resign, as it was empowered to do, but resolved that disciplinary proceedings should be instituted.

Blomkamp said Ngama's stance was that once the task team completed its work and reported to the synod he could resume his position as bishop, as Makgoba and he had agreed.

On a proper construction of the agreement he could resume his rights and duties, Blomkamp said.

He said Makgoba and the synod opposed this because the agreement had not ended.

They contended Ngama was bound not to relinquish his roles until disciplinary proceedings against him were finalised.

According to a preliminary opposing affidavit Ngama might be permanently deprived of his authority and rights.

Acting Judge Piet Bezuidenhout would deliver judgment later.

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg

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