Universal Church 'ruined our lives'

Cecil Motsepe

Cecil Motsepe

The wives of two pastors of the Universal Church of the Kingdom of God are among those who are accusing the church of ruining their lives.

The alleged deception follows a recent report in Sowetanin which dozens of pastors described the country's fastest growing charismatic church as "a money-making scam".

The pastors said they were manipulated by the church to generate money for it. They also claimed that they were forced to undergo vasectomies to prevent them having children so they would not carry any "baggage".

This time around two women who are married to pastors, say the church made them abandon their careers with a promise of eternal bliss.

Rose Chuene, 28, said she had just been promoted to be a manager for waiters at the Caesar's Palace in Kempton Park when the church leaders convinced her to quit her job.

"They told me I would only be allowed to get married to my pastor fiancé on condition that I leave my job. I had to also cut all ties with my family," Chuene said.

But the church has dismissed the accusations as lies.

Church spokesperson Elvis Presslin said the pastors are missionaries and may be required to travel to offer their pastoral services.

"Their availability to be transferred may be blocked if the spouse has alternative work, as contractual obligations may make it difficult for them to heed their call when this is required," he said.

"We disagree with the statement of the women that the church has ruined their lives as there is no concrete evidence to support this."

Presslin said all pastors and their spouses are taken care of by the church.

But Mavis Lekganyane, 34, who was running "a successful fashion business" disagrees.

"Apart from my business, I was working as a fashion designer. I had to give up all that in order to get married. They told me not to be afraid as the church would provide for us. Once I had given every thing up they started ill-treating us," said Lekganyane.

Chuene's husband Donald said: "When the bishops fired me they encouraged my wife to leave me for another pastor."

Percy Makalema, 23, from Chiawelo in Soweto, said he too was taken for a ride by the church.

He said the church turned him against his parents.

"Contrary to what the Bible teaches us, they don't want us to honour our parents. I quit school in Grade 11 to pursue the church's mission but they later dumped me. When I left, they only gave me R20. They ruined my dreams of becoming an engineer," he said.