Over 6000 members of the Nazareth Baptist Church brought the Durban City centre to a standstill during a march on Tuesday morning.
The members belonged to the Ebuhleni faction which is led by Mduduzi ‘Unyazi Lwezulu’ Shembe. The march was to show support for Mduduzi.
The church has been divided into two camps after a succession battle between Mdu and his late uncle Vela Shembe.
In 2016, Vela of the Thembezinhle faction, was declared by the Durban High Court as the legitimate successor to the late church’s spiritual leader, Vimbeni Shembe.
Since then, Mduduzi has launched a number of unsuccessful appeals, with the latest being in June this year to the Constitutional Court.
Nkosinathi Makhanya, convenor of the march, said the demonstration was to show that members of the church still support Mduduzi as their true leader.
“Our interpretation and recognition of uShembe is not guided by institutes of the law but by spiritual guidance,” he said.
"Our interpretation and recognition of uShembe is not guided by institutes of the law but by spiritual guidance," said Nkosinathi Makhanya, convenor of today's march in Durban— Thabiso Goba (@ThabisoGoba2) September 28, 2021
Makhanya said they only recognise Mduduzi 'Unyazi Lwezilu' Shembe as their rightful leader@WitnessKZN pic.twitter.com/LSQtlCngtQ
Makhanya said during the 5-year court battle, members of the church were not invited or consulted with on who is their “chosen” leader.
“We believe our rights have been violated in that there will be a decision or judgment imposed on us to say who we must follow,” he said.
Over 6000 members of the Nazareth Baptist Church congregants have gathered at the Durban City Hall to declare their support for Mduduzi 'Unyazi Lwezilu' Shembe.— Thabiso Goba (@ThabisoGoba2) September 28, 2021
The late Vela Shembe, Mdu's cousin, was declared by the Concourt as the rightful leader of the church.@WitnessKZN pic.twitter.com/67nDM2MThr
Makhanya said a memorandum of demands was handed over to government officials in the eThekwini Municipality, the mayor and the KwaZulu-Natal premier’s office.