BISHOP IN 'MURDER PLOT'

A ZION Apostolic Church bishop, who doubles up as a teacher, was arrested in the early hours of yesterday after he allegedly hired two hitmen to kill a fellow bishop in order to win followers.

A ZION Apostolic Church bishop, who doubles up as a teacher, was arrested in the early hours of yesterday after he allegedly hired two hitmen to kill a fellow bishop in order to win followers.

The 40-year-old bishop, whose name and church are known to Sowetan, allegedly hired a hitman from Bushbuckridge to kill Bishop Daniel Mashele, 46, and promised to pay R10000 for the contract killing.

Mpumalanga police organised crime unit spokesperson Captain Leonard Hlathi said after seeing that the assassin was taking his time to fulfil the assignment, the bishop went to Soweto to hire another hitman for R20000.

"The hitmen approached us and confessed that they had been hired to kill the man of God," Hlathi said yesterday.

The assassination plot was allegedly hatched after continued jostling for leadership position in the church where both bishops served at Thulamahashe.

The father of the accused bishop allegedly left the reins of the church to Mashele, who was a deputy, but the suspect allegedly challenged this.

"The targeted bishop decided to open another branch and the church members followed him.

"This angered the accused, who hired hitmen," said Hlathi.

The accused bishop was arrested in Phalaborwa at about 5am and is expected to appear in the Mhala magistrate's court soon.

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