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Case against 42 accused of killing five people at IPHC struck off the roll

Church expected to address the matter today

Members of International Pentecos Holiness Church walk the grounds of the church's headquarters at Zuurbekom, west of Johannesburg, where a shooting took place. File picture. The court case against the shooting suspects has been struck off the roll.
Members of International Pentecos Holiness Church walk the grounds of the church's headquarters at Zuurbekom, west of Johannesburg, where a shooting took place. File picture. The court case against the shooting suspects has been struck off the roll.
Image: ANTONIO MUCHAVE

The case against 42 people who were accused of being involved in the attack that killed five people at the International Pentecostal Holiness Church (IPHC) in Zuurbekom, western Johannesburg, has been struck off the roll.

This was confirmed on Wednesday by one of the lawyers representing the accused.

“Yes, I can confirm that the case was struck off the roll [on December 3]. I called the instructing attorney and he informed me that I can only confirm. I am told by the instructing attorney that the church will be addressing the matter tomorrow [Thursday].

“So far as I know, there is no longer a case against any of the people that were arrested,” the lawyer said.

NPA spokesperson Phindi Mjonondwane also confirmed that the matter was struck off the roll but could not elaborate further.

On July 11 2020, a group of armed men stormed the IPHC headquarters in Zuurbekom in the early hours of the morning and five people were killed.

Police said that four men were found shot and burnt to death in a car while a fifth man,  a security guard, was also fatally shot in his car while he was apparently attending to this complaint. 

Police recovered 68 firearms, which included 17 rifles, 24 shotguns and 27 pistols.

A total of 42 men were arrested in connection with the attack. They appeared in the Westonaria magistrate’s court and were released on R5,000 bail each. Similar attacks had taken place on the church’s property in Pienaarsrivier, Limpopo, the same year and in Blaauwberg in the Western Cape in May 2019.

The attack prompted the Commission for the Promotion and Protection of the Rights of Cultural, Religious and Linguistic Communities (CRL) to start an intervention process in order to find a solution. The commission found that the problems at the church were caused by lack of a clear succession plan.

The killing is believed to have been sparked by divisions in the church over who the rightful leader of one of the country’s biggest churches is.

The IPHC, mostly know as the "Modise church", has been involved in an ugly succession battle since the death of its leader Glayton Modise in 2016. Three factions are now claiming the right to the leadership – the Jerusalema faction led by Michael Sandlana, the Leonard Modise faction which is at the headquarters in Zuurbekom and the Tshepiso faction.

The Leonard faction blamed the Jerusalema faction for the attack.

IPHC was founded by the late Reverend Frederick Samuel Modise in 1962, who was succeeded by his son Glayton Modise in 1998. The dispute over who should succeed him after his death is currently before the courts.

A media briefing will be held on Thursday to give further details.

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