ZCC priests in witchcraft fight at service

Victor Hlungwani

Victor Hlungwani

The Zion Christian Church (ZCC) in Giyani has condemned two priests who fought in front of the congregation during a service.

The fight broke out at the ZCC's St Engenas branch in Siyandhani last weekend.

A junior priest, Joel Mashimbyi, 64, allegedly accused his senior priest, and first priest of the church, Mzamani Samuel Ngoveni, 79, of practising witchcraft in the church.

Mashimbyi apparently told Ngoveni not to prepare the holy tea or to pray for the people. When Ngoveni asked Mashimbyi on what basis he was accusing him of witchcraft, he allegedly hit Ngoveni on the forehead and wrists with an iron rod.

On hearing that their father had been attacked, Ngoveni's 17-year-old twin sons went to the church and allegedly attacked Mashimbyi with stones.

Mashimbyi was taken to Nkhesani Hospital but was later transferred to Mankweng Hospital in a critical condition.

"Mashimbyi has always been fighting for the position since he was ordained a few years ago as a junior pastor in our church," said an angry priest who wished not be to named.

"He wants to take over the senior position because he says Ngoveni is too old and not fit to lead the church.

"Ngoveni has been running the church for almost 26 years as its head. He also contributed towards the building of other churches around Giyani before Mashimbyi [became a priest]."

St Engenas branch leader in Giyani, Richard Maluleke, said the church was waiting to see both priests before any action would be taken.

"Once the other pastor is discharged from the hospital, we will try and listen to both sides to establish what happened.

"After that we are going to file a report to our head office in Polokwane."

Ngoveni and his twin sons were arrested and released without bail by the Giyani magistrate's court.