Hawks probe Mancoba Seven Angels Ministries Church bank accounts

A member of the forensic team gathers evidence at the scene where seven people were gunned down during a raid at the Mancoba church premises in Engcobo last month.
A member of the forensic team gathers evidence at the scene where seven people were gunned down during a raid at the Mancoba church premises in Engcobo last month.
Image: Simphiwe Nkwali

The Hawks are probing bank accounts belonging to members of the Mancoba Seven Angels Ministries Church in Eastern Cape.

This after they discovered that millions of rand belonging to church members were apparently stashed in its bank accounts.

According to a highly placed Hawks official in Eastern Cape, the money was discovered after some members of the church told the Hawks that they had given their pensions to the church. "Many of the members were either teachers or working in local firms. When they got to the church, they were told to give away their material possessions in order to serve without the 'satanic' attachments that is money and belongings," said the official.

Another source said one of the accounts being probed has an unexplained amount of more than R2.5-million.

The church hogged headlines last month after three police officers were killed at Engcobo police station. A soldier also fell victim to attackers as they fled the scene.

Police later found two other bodies of police officers dumped along the road about four kilometres away from the police station and a few metres from the Mancoba home where most of the suspects were arrested.

A few days later, after an anonymous tip-off, police raided the Mancoba church and arrested 10 suspects. Seven other suspects died during a shootout with police and three were admitted to hospital.

The official also said some of the money that was taken from church members was used to buy expensive furniture.

"There is a room that belonged to Thandazile Mancoba; it is made of corrugated iron outside but inside is packed with expensive furniture.

"One of the couches inside the shack that is painted in pink is worth R35000. Every item of the furniture in that small house is expensive," said the official.

The Angels, according to the official, drove some of the cars that belonged to church members. "Some were paid-off cars that belonged to some of the members. One member, who was a teacher for 11 years, told us that she was instructed to cash out all her pension and bring it to the church.

"She and most of the members did as they were told because they believed Thandazile was the son of the Lord."

The official said church members were so brainwashed that some of them lost their houses in the process. "They did not care. They did not believe in the law or the constitution."

Hawks provincial spokeswoman Anelisa Feni said their focus was currently on the killings. "The investigation of the finances is on hold for now. We will focus on it at a later stage," said Feni.

She said that the Hawks were also investigating sex trafficking, sexual exploitation and sexual grooming of young women against some of the church leaders.

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