IPHC war - Leonard vs Tshepiso
The late International Pentcost Holiness Church (IPHC) leader Comforter Glayton Modise's second son Leonard has turned against his family's resolution to endorse his elder brother Tshepiso to become the leader of the church.
Leonard now wants the position for himself and allegedly does not want his family anywhere near the church's headquarters, Silo, which he has forcefully occupied.
Leonard filed summons at the North Gauteng high court in Pretoria on March 1, asking the court to declare him the rightful spiritual leader and Comforter of the church over his elder brother Tshepiso and another brother, Michael Sandlana, who is believed to be the late bishop's child out of wedlock.
Tshepiso is currently leading one of the biggest IPHC branches in Springs, east of Gauteng, while Sandlana, who is believed to have the support of most IPHC priests on the church council, is leading the church from the Jerusalem branch in Pretoria.
Sandlana was also believed to be in charge of approximately 90% of the church branches.
In his papers, seen by Sunday World, Leonard had demanded that the court must interdict and restrain Tshepiso and Sandlana from declaring themselves the Comforter, stating that he was the only leader of the three-million member church.
Leonard said his late father anointed him to be his successor before he died.
"On March 30 2013, and on the occasion of the plaintiff's wedding ceremony to Masego Christina Modise at the headquarters of the IPHC at Silo, Zuurbekom, the late Comforter publicly and lawfully declared his appointment of the plaintiff as his successor.
"On October 27 2018, and at Silo, the plaintiff duly ascended the throne of the IPHC at an ascension ceremony of member persons of the IPHC. The applicant is duly in occupation of the office of the Comforter," reads the court papers.
In the same papers, Leonard asks the court to issue an order compelling anyone who opposes his application to pay legal costs in their individual capacity.
"The plaintiff prays for an order in the following terms:
- Declaring the plaintiff to be the Spiritual leader and head of the International Pentecostal Holiness Church, the Comforter (IPHC)
- Interdicting and restraining the first defendant from holding himself out to be either the Comforter of the IPHC or entitled to ascend to the position of Comforter
- Interdicting and restraining the second defendant from holding himself out to be either the Comforter of the IPHC or entitled to ascend to position of the Comforter
- Ordering that the costs of this application be paid by any person opposing this action..." reads the papers.
Speaking for Sandlana, Bonisile Majavu of Majavu Attorneys confirmed that the law firm had received summons by Leonard.
"I do, however, confirm that we have filed notice of intention to defend on behalf of his Highness (Sandlana). Furthermore, we were contacted by representatives of Tshepiso Modise who informed us that they were never served with the papers and equally surprised of our opposition.
"We will file a plea shortly in compliance with the rules. The Leonard summons we find surprising. The spoliation application concerning return of possession of Silo by Council is at preparation stage and due for hearing," said Majavu.
Meanwhile, Sunday World has learnt that Leonard kicked his own mother Marriam "Mmapoloko" Modise out of Silo last month when she had visited him to check if it was safe for the family to come back to their home.
It was believed that upon her arrival, she was turned away by security guards hired by Leonard and barred from entering her house.
A source close to the family revealed that Mmapoloko was told by the guards that Leonard gave instructions that she was not welcome at the church headquarters and she must leave immediately.
The claims were also confirmed by Modise family spokesperson Emmanuel Lekgau, saying the family was still shocked by Leonard's behaviour.
He said the matriarch was shocked when she was told by the guards that she was not welcome at her own home.
"He has been ignoring the family's calls, messages and any attempts to see him," he said.
Asked about Leonard's court summons, Lekgau said the family was still equally shocked by his move because Leonard had earlier deposed an affidavit in support of Tshepiso in his court bid to be declared the leader of the church.
"He has also signed a family resolution that supported and adopted the anointment of Tshepiso by the late Comforter Glayton Modise as the new church leader, so we are shocked about his move," said Lekgau.
Sunday World has seen the resolution letter dated March 6 2016, purportedly signed by all the Modise family members, including Leonard.
Leonard's lawyer Joseph Maluleke said: "Our client categorically deny all allegations that he kicked his mother out of Silo ... Our client's position is that Mmapoloko is his mother whom he respects and love dearly and would not even fathom the thought of doing something so despicable and disgraceful to his own mother."