Stop the unholy war at IPHC

The IPHC headquarters in Zuurbekom, Gauteng, has become a battleground for the soul of the church that has been torn apart since the death of its leader Glayton Modise in 2016.
The IPHC headquarters in Zuurbekom, Gauteng, has become a battleground for the soul of the church that has been torn apart since the death of its leader Glayton Modise in 2016.
Image: Thulani Mbele

We condemn the killing of five people at International Pentecost Holiness Church and call on law enforcement agencies to ensure the spilling of blood ends.

More than 40 people, who included SAPS officers, metro police and SANDF members, were arrested after a hostage drama which left five dead at the church's headquarters southwest of Johannesburg. According to the police, the attack was allegedly carried out by another faction of the IPHC that wanted to gain control of the headquarters.

Armed to the teeth, the group went to the church in the early hours of Saturday and allegedly attacked people, women and children.

"Indicating that they were coming to take over the premises. Four people were found shot and burnt to death in a car while a fifth victim, a security guard, was also fatally shot in his car," police spokesperson Brig Vishnu Naidoo said. Thirty four firearms, which included five rifles and 13 pistols, were seized during the arrest.

We commend police for arresting the 40, which included some of their own. We hope that justice will be served for the families of the deceased and they will see the killers of their loved ones receiving harsher sentences.

However, the dispute over of the leadership of this church is not new, it has been ongoing since the death of its leader, Comforter Gayton Modise, in 2016. There seems to be no end in sight to the bitter feud as there have been several attacks that have left people injured or dead.

The church spokesman, Albie Wessie, has accused police of failing them, claiming cases reported did not go anywhere. He has been quoted saying there were attacks at the late Modise's Pienaarsrivier residence early this year, and another one at the church's Mount Zion site in Cape Town last year. Another incident which made the news was the death of a worshipper in 2016 during a stoning-throwing skirmish among congregants.

Are allegations of inaction by police true? What happened to the cases? Now that it has come to light that some of SAPS members are involved in the dispute, police are under more pressure to show the public that they are in control. They must do everything in their power to ensure there are no more killings at that church, if that means deploying more patrols in the area, so be it.

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