Fight over the body of church pastor’s wife

Pastor Xola Nzo
Pastor Xola Nzo
Image: Supplied

The nephew of the late ANC stalwart Alfred Nzo is embroiled in a bitter battle with his in-laws over the burial of his late wife.

The drama between pastor Xola Nzo of Change Bible Church and the Ntsunguzi family unfolded at Doves funeral parlour in Braamfontein, Johannesburg, on Monday.

Nzo allegedly stormed the parlour fuming and demanded the body of his deceased wife – Lusanda – whose family was preparing to take to Eastern Cape for burial this weekend.

Police had to be called to the scene to diffuse the tension between Nzo and Ntsunguzi families as emotions ran high over who had the right to the body.

Lusanda died last Tuesday at the Linksfield Hospital in Johannesburg. Her mother Phumla Ntsunguzi told Sowetan yesterday that her daughter was deserted for more than 18 months by the pastor.

“This man who claims to be a man of God ill-treated my daughter till her death; he chased her out and deserted her to live alone after she was diagnosed with cancer,” she said. Ntsunguzi said her daughter’s wish was to be buried next to her father in the Eastern Cape.

“She was waiting to get better so they could process her divorce but sadly she died before she could finalise it.”

But Nzo denied the claims that he had deserted his wife and that he had chased her out. He said divorce never featured in their discussions.

Lusanda’s younger sister, Nomi, said she was left to settle her sister’s hospital bill when Nzo was absent.

“He never visited her or even assisted with paying her medical bills. He went on like nothing was happening, living alone when my sister was in pain and going through operations,” Nomi said.

She also said after asking for her hand in marriage the pastor ordered Lusanda to resign from work to serve in the church as a pastor’s wife.

“But after she got sick even her allowance from the church was taken away from her by my brother-in-law.

“What does he preach in his church when he is a heartless man that has cheated on my sister since dating her from her varsity years?

“I don’t care about the cars and property they had together, all I want is to honour her wish of being buried at home.

“All I want is for him to let us bury her, to [let her] rest in peace; she suffered enough. ”

Nzo also  denied the claims and said he stayed committed to his marriage and true to his wife till the end. He told Sowetan that he spent many nights preparing meals and helping dress his wife because her right hand was constantly in pain . He added that he lived with Lusanda all the time she was sick and looked after her and paid her medical bills.

He provided Sowetan with proof of this and that he was responsible for all her living expenses.

He said it was by mutual agreement that Lusanda left her job and came to support him in his work in the church.

But Nzo family spokesperson pastor Sifiso Ngcobo said the family was deeply distressed by the dispute that has arisen about where and when Lusanda should be buried.

Ngcobo said the family had initially agreed to his wife being buried in the Eastern Cape on Saturday but that the Ntsunguzi family made a unilateral decision to postpone the burial to the following week.

“In the event, our son has decided to assert his rights, as Lusanda’s legally wedded husband, on where and when she will be buried,” Ngcobo said.

“It is a right he enjoys in law. We would have preferred for the matter not to reach this level but due to circumstances beyond our control, our son was compelled to take the decision he has [taken].”

Ngcobo said Nzo lived with Lusanda all the time she was sick and looked after her and paid her medical bills.

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Editor's Note

The article above has been amended  to include further comments from Pastor Xola Nzo.

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