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IPHC bishop's wives sword war revealed

The late Glayton Modise and his wife Mirriam leave the Protea Magistrate's Court with a large entourage.
The late Glayton Modise and his wife Mirriam leave the Protea Magistrate's Court with a large entourage.

The first wife of the late International Pentecost Holiness Church (IPHC) leader Glayton Modise almost chopped to death his then girlfriend Pearl Tafu with a sword after accusing her of having an adulterous affair with her husband.

But Tafu allegedly dared Mirriam Modise, who is also known as Mmapoloko among the 3.5 million IPHC members, to butcher her, saying she was ready to die for her man.

The drama allegedly unfolded after Mirriam had confronted Tafu about her agreement to marry Modise as his second wife, claiming that she was too young to agree to enter into a polygamous marriage.

Sunday World can also reveal that Mirriam and her son Tshepiso also allegedly assaulted a female congregant, only known as Lulu, after it was wrongly suspected that she was donating the forbidden fruit to the late bishop.

All these explosive details are contained in a video transcript of a speech allegedly made by Tafu at the church's headquarters Silo in Zuurbekom, south of Joburg.

The transcripts were submitted to the South Gauteng High Court in Joburg by Modise's daughter Jeanette Khumalo in her responding affidavit against an application made by the church's executive committee to have her removed as the signatory on its bank accounts.

The court documents did not give the date on which the speech was made.

According to the transcripts seen by Sunday World, Tafu alleged in her speech that she was once confronted by Mirriam about her relationship with the late Modise.

"She aggressively asked me why I had agreed to such a thing at such a young age. I told her I was doing it for my father and my God, and I will forever obey him today and the rest of my life. Behind my father's chair, there were knives - swords like. She took out one of them and chased me with it with the intention of killing me. Our father shielded me," reads part of the video transcript deposed by Khumalo.

The comforter Glayton Modise and his wife Mamohau Modise. /Veli Nhlapo
The comforter Glayton Modise and his wife Mamohau Modise. /Veli Nhlapo

It is common knowledge within the church that the father referred to is the late Bishop, who was also known as the Comforter.

Also central to the drama are two senior IPHC members, Ntate Maemi (Tafu's family business adviser) and Modise's right-hand man Ntate Moloi, who were revealed by Tafu as the masterminds behind her secret affair with Modise.

According to the transcript, Moloi was the one who had in one instance instructed Tafu to sit next to the Comforter during a church service, allegedly in preparation to unveil her to the congregation as his second wife. Tafu said she did as she was told and sat next to Modise who was beaming with smiles.

"He then uttered these words to me, 'The time has come'."

Detailing Maemi's role in the relationship, Tafu revealed that the church elder had told her that he had a dream in which the Comforter had advised him that he was to marry her as his second wife at the age of 25.

The transcripts also say that Maemi had told Tafu to expect a call from Modise at midnight and that she must agree to everything said by the IPHC leader.

"My father indeed called me at midnight and I agreed over the phone, I agreed to it all," reads the speech.

Tafu, according to the transcript, also told the church that she met Modise while she was a 19-year-old virgin. When asked about the authenticity of the video transcript, Tafu said she had no comment on the matter and referred enquiries to her lawyer Zola Majavu.

"We would not comment on matters that are before the court," said Majavu.

Tshepiso's lawyer and IPHC member Emmanuel Lekgau confirmed knowledge of the audio recording and the speech made by Tafu.

"We know about the audio and we also know of the reasons why she stood up in church and said what she said," said Lekgau.

He said the aim of Tafu's speech was to incite violence against the Modise family and to destabilise the church.

Glayton Modise's son Tshepiso Modise./Photos Veli Nhlapo
Glayton Modise's son Tshepiso Modise./Photos Veli Nhlapo

Modise family's spiral of squabble 

February 9 2016: IPHC Bishop Glayton Modise dies at 76, after a battle with diabetes.

February 12 2016: Modise is laid to rest at the church's headquarters - Silo - in Zuurbekom, southwest of Joburg.

April 14 2016: Two people killed during violence at the church's Mabopane, Tshwane, branch.

June 2016: Sunday World reports that Modise was allegedly swindled out of nearly R30-million after an agricultural business deal went wrong.

July 2016: Sunday World reports that Modise's ex-nyatsi alleged he had breached the promise to marry her during their six-year relationship.

August 2016: First wife, Mirriam, 64, is thrown out of the couple's mansion by Modise's second wife, Pearl Tafu, 30.

August 2016: Church elders are robbed of R1.3-million near the Golden Highway in Soweto. One church member is killed.

October 2016: First wife, Mirriam, claims back her belongings following a court order after two months in exile.

December 2016: Reverend Abbey Wessie, chairman of the executive committee, is allegedly moered by angry congregants for trying to boot them out of the church premises at the Brits parish. He denies the incident.

February 2017: Court hears claims that the late bishop was poisoned and killed by one of his wives during a defamation case.

April 2017: Sunday World reports that Tafu faces prison for theft of R15-million. Mirriam opened a case claiming that Tafu stole R2.8-million in cash, textiles valued at R9-million as well as uniforms worth R3.5-million from her home in Zuurbekom.

August 2017: Sunday World reports that Tshepiso Modise, Miriam's son, bans a CD of the church's music, claiming that it was a fraud.

September 2017: The church allegedly splits into two after a church members and its music producer Thabo Sekgonyane open a new branch in Lenasia, south of Joburg, claiming Modise's younger son Leonard was their leader.

October 2017: Hawks probe theft of R300-million against the IPHC executive committee members after the money was stolen at the church premises.

October 2017: Tshepiso Modise threatened to leak his stepmother Tafu's alleged sex tape with another man if she refused to vacate the mansion at the church headquarters in Zuurbekom.

December 2017: The IPHC executive committee filed an application seeking to compel Absa to remove Modise's daughter Jeanette Khumalo as signatory on the church's account. The court also heard claims that R115-million in the church's vault had disappeared.

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