VELA SHEMBE LEGALLY APPOINTED AS NEW LEADER OF THE SHEMBE CHURCH
*Caption: Mduduzi Shembe as he walked out of the Durban High Court
Article and video by: Sihle Makhowana
The Durban High Court has ruled that Vela Shembe should be officially recognised as the legitimate leader of the Nazareth Baptist Church, popularly known as the Shembe Church.
Judge Achmat Jappie ruled in favour of Vela Shembe‚ Leader of the Thembezinhle Church‚ who was fighting for power to control the 5-million strong hold of the church.
The much anticipated court ruling brings an end to a five-year court succession battle which sparked after the death of the church leader‚ Vimbeni Shembe in 2011. Vela Shembe who the judge ruled in favour of, left the court in high spirits while his rival and cousin‚ Mduduzi Shembe – Vimbeni’s son – who leads the biggest faction Ebuhleni‚ left the court disappointed and in despair.
After the judgement, Mduduzi’s counsil immediately asked for leave to appeal the entire judgement which Judge Achmat Jappie granted.
In a gathering at Albert park, Mduduzi’s council addressed thousands of followers and assured them that justice will prevail as they will be appealing Judge Achmat Jappie judgement at the Pietermaritzburg High Court.
“We have all come a very long way and this is not the end it’s just the beginning and we already have reasons why we want to appeal but we will give more reasons in a different court in Pietermaritzburg,” said the council.
“In the first half of next year the court in Pietermaritzburg will hear the case all over again not the evidence but everything on the record whatever has been printed will be argued in Pietermaritzburg,” added the council.
The new courtly appointed leader of the Shembe church, Vela Shembe said he is very happy with the judgement.
“The past leader has vindicated after I was plagued with insults as a person who cannot be trusted but today the judge has declared the rightful leader and I thank God and all the ancestors,” said Vela Shembe.
Unyazi supporters reiterated that what happened in court will not deter their faith and they say they still belong to unyazi.
Mduduzi Shembe was ordered to pay all legal costs relating to the case.