Private school for cult leader’s kids

2018-03-18 06:03
Banele Mancoba

Banele Mancoba

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DOCUMENTARY | News24 takes you inside the cult that captured an Eastern Cape community

2018-03-15 20:30

News24 sent a team of journalists to Ngcobo in the wake of deadly shootings between police and members of a confirmed cult. The team spoke to the cult leaders, families of victims, law enforcement and cult experts to piece together a story of brainwashing, vulnerability and violence.WATCH

He wouldn’t allow his congregants to send their children to school and forbade them from having relationships with anyone outside his so-called church.

But Banele Mancoba – leader of the Mancoba Seven Angels Ministry cult in Ngcobo, whose brothers and congregants were allegedly behind the massacre of five policemen in the Eastern Cape town – has been paying boarding school fees for two children he had with his outsider girlfriend.

Mancoba has been reported saying: “We do not believe in education, education has been infiltrated and influenced by the devil ... We’re saying children shouldn’t go to school because Satan has infiltrated our schools.

“We’re also saying people mustn’t follow the Constitution because it is driven by Satan. I take it as the devil’s spirit.”

But City Press traced Mancoba’s former girlfriend this week who has two children with him.

Sindiswa* was kept as one of his “wives” at the cult’s compound, but joined only after their first child was born.

“I didn’t go to the church with my family, unlike the other girls,” said Sindiswa. “I went to stay there because he had convinced me that it would be easier for me to be there with the children.

“I agreed, thinking I’d be the only woman in his life; his wife perhaps.”

But when she moved in she discovered Mancoba was sleeping with many women and taking care of them too.

“I realised that I was not going to have the life I had bargained for. I had a lot of difficulty in understanding his need to sleep with other women,” she said.

“He would just sleep with any woman he wanted at that time, even though I was there. I am a very jealous type of woman; I don’t like sharing my man.”

Sindiswa said her frustration led to many arguments.

“He would not stop what he was doing, even though he could see my frustration and disgruntlement. And so I decided to leave. I packed my two children with everything I had and went back home,” she said.

Sindiswa said Mancoba pleaded with her to return, but told her she must understand his way of life. When she refused, he told her the children had to be taken care of.

“I had nothing to offer my children, I have little education, I have no job and come from a poor home,” she said.

“He then made arrangements to take my kids to a boarding school. He found a private boarding school in Dordrecht [in the Eastern Cape].”

Sindiswa said he “does everything for them, pays for all their needs; I have very little to offer them”.

Now she doesn’t know who will take care of them if he is sent to jail.

“I will never afford the fees or their maintenance in the school. If he is found guilty, my kids will suffer.”

The young woman works in a salon in Ngcobo and battles to make ends meet.

“I thought Banele was my knight in shining armour, but look where I am today? I am suffering because of my involvement with him,” she said.

“I am still hopeful that they will say he is not guilty because I have nothing to offer my kids; I can’t afford the life they are used to.

“Even if I could afford the fees, who will go visit them on weekends like he used to and entertain them like he does?”

On the other side of the mountain news that Mancoba pays for his children’s private schooling came as a shock to villagers who live near the cult compound.

Nyanga village elder Mzuvukile Mdaka said cult members neither greet nor respond to greetings from non-members.

“You will greet them and they will not respond; it is like they have not heard you,” he said. “They are a strange lot, they keep to themselves, they are removed from society even though they live so close to the rest of the villagers.”

Sindiswa is not the only woman in the area with whom Mancoba is alleged to have had a relationship outside the cult.

A close family friend of another young woman who has a young child with him, said the white “Mancoba BMW X6 has been a very regular presence in the home”.

“I asked the mother of the girl why she was allowing her child to be involved with the cult. She told me that her daughter had made a choice and was in love with Banele; she didn’t see a problem with the relationship because she was not going to live in the compound,” the friend said.

“The child is now almost two years old and Banele had been visiting them almost every day before the news of the police murders broke. I agree he has taken great care of his child and girlfriend.”

She said Banele’s presence in that family had been a source of great pride to them. He had been welcomed like a real son-in-law, celebrated and embraced as part of the family. You know when you have daughters, you want them to get the best man in the village. Your kids must be the ones who are picked as the best of the crop.”

*Not her real name

Read more on:    ngcobo massacre  |  religion  |  crime

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