WATCH | Angels of Death: A News24 documentary

On a Saturday morning in February a crowd looked on as more than 100 girls – including underage mothers clutching small babies – were ushered from the Mancoba Seven Angels Ministry just outside the small Eastern Cape town of Ngcobo.

Some seemed terrified, others appeared to resist police trying to free them. Behind them lay ten corrugated iron shacks in which they’d been living a mysterious, cloistered existence – allegedly as sex slaves, prohibited from going to school.

The crowd cheered as seven bodies were loaded into a mortuary van and driven from the property. The shootout and arrest of 10 individuals followed an attack on the local police station, which saw five police officers and an off-duty soldier murdered.

But while the violent events in Ngcobo came as a shock to the South African public, one organisation was less surprised. The “church” had been a subject of grave concern for the Commission for the Promotion and Protection of the Rights of Cultural, Religious and Linguistic Communities since 2016, when it rescued 18 children from the compound.

The ensuing investigation concluded it was a cult and the commission’s chair, Thoko Mkhwanazi-Xaluva, described the situation as a “ticking time bomb”. In October 2017 she warned Parliament’s Portfolio Committee on Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs that the situation needed urgent attention.

Four months later, and almost two years to the day since the initial rescue, the Mancoba Seven Angels Ministry would come to a bloody end.

In order to better understand the events leading up to the attack on the Ngcobo police station, and the operations behind the gates of the Mancoba Seven Angels Ministry, News24 sent a team of journalists to Ngcobo in the wake of the tragedy.

The team spoke to the cult leaders, victims’ families, law enforcement and cult experts to piece together a story of brainwashing, vulnerability and violence.

Visit angelsofdeath.news24.com for in an depth look at Ngcobo, the cult and the community.

We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For only R75 per month, you have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today.
Subscribe to News24
Lockdown For
DAYS
HRS
MINS
Voting Booth
Is social media doing more harm than good?
Please select an option Oops! Something went wrong, please try again later.
Results
Yes, our children are exposed and we can't protect them
49% - 5822 votes
Yes, but social media is part of the new reality
45% - 5356 votes
No, it's great for growing a child's world view
5% - 612 votes
Vote
Rand - Dollar
14.13
-0.9%
Rand - Pound
19.86
-0.3%
Rand - Euro
17.06
-0.3%
Rand - Aus dollar
10.92
+0.5%
Rand - Yen
0.13
-0.0%
Gold
1,814.47
-1.3%
Silver
26.96
-2.4%
Palladium
2,859.51
-2.8%
Platinum
1,215.34
-2.0%
Brent Crude
68.55
+0.3%
Top 40
61,529
+0.3%
All Share
67,424
+0.3%
Resource 10
71,663
+1.5%
Industrial 25
83,756
-0.5%
Financial 15
12,642
-0.1%
All JSE data delayed by at least 15 minutes Iress logo