Church invading my privacy, says reporter

Sibongile Mashaba

Sibongile Mashaba

The Universal Church of the Kingdom of God has distributed Sowetan reporter Cecil Motsepe's number to branches across the country to give to congregants.

The church does not deny this and says it was because it was not given the chance to comment on allegations made by former pastors.

Elvis Presslin, who was hired by the church to deal with the media, confirmed that the church had distributed Motsepe's number.

"Congregants wanted it so they could call and SMS him," he said.

Motsepe's business card contains his office, cell numbers, e-mail address, news desk number as well as Sowetan's Tell Us e-mail.

This is also on the card: "Please, always remember to maintain professionalism when getting your point across [no name calling, no unwholesome language], and use real names and not pseudonyms."

This follows several reports in the newspaper about the church allegedly using pastors to make millions of rands and then dumping them. The pastors allege that when they joined the church they were forced to quit their jobs and give up everything they had. They claimed the church had promised to take care of them.

Another story was about two women who are married to pastors from the church who claimed that they were forced to abandon their careers. Since Friday Sowetan has been inundated with calls.

Motsepe has received more than 600 calls on his cellphone and about 300 SMSes from angry church members from as far as Cape Town.

Some of the SMSes read: "Pliz leave UCKG alove do'nt (sic) publish lies about my church we do'nt (sic) accept it anymore enough is enough STOP IT!! no matter what i will never stop going to UCKG I WILL DIE there."

"Cecile (sic), dont play with fire, confirm first with seniors of the church how true is the story. Those millions have built churches to save souls like yours. Pastors were used to make those millions, not outsiders. God bless them! Stop publishing nonsense! B PROFESSIONAL!!"

Motsepe said: "They are determined not to allow me a moment's rest. Should this continue I will consider legal steps against the church itself because this is tantamount to harassment, intimidation and invasion of privacy."