No harmony at controversial Gauteng church after clashes

2018-11-02 12:05
One of the 12 vehicles that was damaged outside the IPHC church in Zuurbekom, west of Johannesburg.

One of the 12 vehicles that was damaged outside the IPHC church in Zuurbekom, west of Johannesburg. (Ntwaagae Seleka)

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The situation remains tense at the controversial International Pentecostal Holiness Church in Zuurbekom, west of Johannesburg.

A church member was arrested on Thursday night, allegedly after he was spotted displaying ammunition in a video clip that went viral.

Since the passing of its leader Glayton Modise in 2016 the church has been embroiled in battles over money and leadership.

It has millions of worshippers countrywide and in neighbouring countries.

No ammunition found

The man in the video displayed both rifle and pistol ammunition.

"After we received the video, our investigators consulted a local prosecutor who advised that the man should be arrested. Last night, our members went into the church premises and found the man [who was depicted in] the video.

"The place was then searched and no ammunition was recovered. However, he was arrested for displaying ammunition because he claimed that he didn't have a licence to possess a firearm," said Masondo.

The man is expected to appear in court soon on charges of displaying ammunition.

At around 08.30 on Thursday, three church members were injured during a confrontation between two factions battling for leadership of the church. One of the three men sustained a bullet wound to his upper body.

Twelve cars were badly damaged during the fracas.

READ: Police visibility beefed up as 2 rival church groups clash in Joburg

Police later confiscated several firearms from members of the two factions. The weapons have been taken for ballistic testing to determine if they had been used in other offences.

Between 12:00 and early evening, police reinforced their members and prevented the two groups from clashing.

A faction which had vehicles damaged, later returned accompanied by more than 100 security guards in an attempt to carry out revenge attacks on their opponents waiting outside the church premises.

It took police more than two hours to contain the angry mob from launching an attack.

Situation calm but tense

On Friday morning, two large trucks were parked near the entrance of the church.

Near to one of the vehicles a group of men, who had spent the night there, waited around a fire for their opponents to arrive. The men had sticks in their possession.

Close to them were two police Nyalas and several vans.

Masondo promised that they would maintain police visibility in the area as members of both factions were expected to descend on the church this weekend to worship.

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