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Bishop charged

Man of religion in court for 'hiring hitmen to kill rival'

APOSTOLIC Faith Assembly in Zion Bishop Jafta Mabuza in Julesburg village near Tzaneen, Limpopo, is in trouble again.

The National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) has instructed the senior public prosecutor in the Mhala magistrate's court to subpoena Mabuza back to court to face charges of conspiracy to commit murder.

Mabuza was faced the same charge in March last year but it was withdrawn. He was arrested on July 1 2009 after he allegedly hired two people to kill a fellow bishop.

Daniel Gamu Mashele was a deputy in the church when it was led by its founder, the late Bishop Rex Mabuza, who died in 2006 and who was Jafta's father.

His death left his deputy, Mashele, in line to lead the church since he was one of its co-founders.

Ma, a member of the church's board, was apparently not happy that Mashele would take over the running the church. He wanted to run it himself.

Mashele said yesterday: "There were a number of confrontational meetings that led me to believe I was no longer welcome in the church.

"I'm a businessman and found no reason not to leave the church under the circumstances.

"Other church members asked me to form a new church."

He said after forming his own church, named the New Apostolic Faith Assembly in Zion, many members followed him.

"I know for a fact that this did not go down well with other leaders of the first church," Mashele said.

He said he was called by the late Mhala police station commissioner, Superintendent Khazamula Baloyi in September 2008 to be told Jafta had apparently hired assassins to eliminate him.

Baloyi was with a man who wanted to confess that Jafta had hired him for R10000 to kill Mashele.

Another man related to Jafta also came forward, saying he had been promised R20000 to kill him.

Jafta was arrested but acquitted on March 25 last year and Mashele wrote to Justice Minister Jeff Radebe complaining about the prosecutor's conduct in the matter.

Radebe referred the matter to the NPA who instructed that Jafta be charged again. He is now due to appear in court on February 17.

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