Tug-of-war over dead pastor ends

Sibongile Mashaba

Sibongile Mashaba

The three-week battle over the right to bury a cheating pastor ended in the Johannesburg high court yesterday.

Meshack Sethunya of the New St Emmanuel Apostolic Church will finally be buried in QwaQwa in Free State by his first wife Josephine Masethunya.

The case was brought to court by Masethunya, supported by Sethunya's second wife Mirriam Thobela, against his girlfriend, Tiny Segopa.

Segopa had refused to release the body to the two women for burial, saying she had the right to bury her man.

The pastor died on March 29.

Yesterday in the high court, Judge Margie Victor ruled in favour of the first and second wives, and ordered that girlfriend Segopa pay legal costs.

Segopa argued that Sethunya had told her that, when he died, she was the one who must bury him.

Victor said Segopa was not able to prove this.

The court also ruled that Segopa had to return all Sethunya's belongings to Masethunya.

She was also told to instruct her undertaker to hand over his body to his first wife.

About 20 church members attended the court hearing in support of the wives.

Sethunya came to prominence last year when he was featured on JoziFM's Cheaters programme in Soweto. During the programme he said he had originally come from QwaQwa where he had left his first wife. He said he had settled in Soweto after opening a church there, and took Thobela as his second wife. He cheated on her by starting a relationship with Segopa.

Yesterday Masethunya said: "This court case has really wasted my time because Tiny had no right to claim my husband's body and try to bury him.

"If Thobela and Segopa had listened to me things would not have come this far.

"We would not have had to go to court," she said.