Sipho Masombuka

Sipho Masombuka

A pastor of the Ethiopian Catholic Church in Zion has been suspended for what he says was his outspokenness against sin.

"I spoke against fellow clerics who smoked, drank, stole, had extra-marital affairs and engaged in sex with members of the congregation," he said.

Pastor Diphapang Potsane of the church's Soshanguve, Pretoria, congregation told Sowetan that his six-month suspension came four days after he demanded that action be taken against errant deacons and bishops.

He claimed they stole from the church coffers and had extra-marital affairs with members of the church.

Potsane said he raised his concerns during the church's provincial synod and convention at Voeteen near Bela-Bela, Limpopo, this month.

"I was summoned to an urgently convened hearing and found guilty of gross insubordination and violation of the church's constitution.

"Leaders who are supposed to lead by example have sexual relationships with youths in the church," Potsane said.

" They drink and smoke publicly. I know was suspended because I wanted to bring order in the house of the Lord."

He said he feared for his life because a priest in his branch was gunned down in September 2001 after complaining about the misconduct of the church's provincial registrar.

"The registrar wanted to meet the priest to discuss the matter but the priest refused. Later that afternoon he was gunned down in a hijack attempt but nothing was stolen," Potsane said.

Leader of the church Archbishop Simon Moloisane said: "Potsane wants to do things his way and with total disregard for authority and that is why he was charged with violating the oath of canons which require respect."

Moloisane threatened to sue Sowetan if it published the story.