Residents stand looking at the pastor's burning house.
A large mob of residents in Musina set a house alight that belongs to an elderly pastor. This followed after the pastor had allegedly made a public confession about his “witchcraft” activities on Charis TV channel, where he requested spiritual help from the Apostle JB Makananisa of the Charis Missionary Church.
Limpopo police's spokesperson, Col Ronel Otto, said that the community's anger was fuelled after the pastor was said to have “confessed” that he was a witch. In his “confession” he allegedly stated that his spirit would leave his body to go to other people's houses without his wife seeing anything. He had allegedly taught his daughter the same skills.
On Monday evening, the people mobilised and threatened to burn down his house. Pastor Samuel Ndadza, his wife and daughter were inside the house at Nancefield township. According to Col Otto, the police swiftly arrived at the scene. They managed to rescue the three occupants from possible harm and finally dispersed the angry crowd.
“However, the mob petrol-bombed the pastor’s house on Tuesday night,” Col Otto said. “They damaged three police vehicles and at least two police officers were slightly injured. They also attempted to block the N1 from Musina to Beit Bridge, but the police managed to bring the situation under control.”
The chairperson for the local Sanco, Mr Victor Madzivhandila, said that after viewing the video clip on which Ndadza made confessions, Sanco members then decided to go straight to his house on Monday at around 20:00. According to Madzivhandila, Ndadza allegedly told the community that there was a “Team A” and a “Team B” and that he (Ndadza) belonged to Team A. “He said we must not ask him about Team B since he was not a member of that group,” Madzivhandila said.
The residents didn’t clearly understand what he was telling them and decided to take him to the police station, so that he could explain himself in the presence of the police.
“However, he revealed that he had buried a black-and-red cloth near the gate to Musina High School,” he said. “Even the police were shocked. We need this issue to be investigated to see if it does link with the low pass rate in that school.”
Madzivhandila said that it was wrong that some unknown people had rushed to set alight Ndadza's house. “Why burn his house?” he said. “Now the police have taken him into hiding – but we want him to come back and dig out his black-and-red cloth from the school gate. It may sound like a joke to people who do not live with us here in Musina. However, this issue is very serious.”
The South African Council of Churches’ provincial secretary, Mr Lechipisha Mohlala, said that the council was deeply disturbed by the pastor's televised confession and the actions of the residents who had destroyed his property and victimised him.
“A confession is private. It takes place in a very special way between a pastor, God and the confessor,” he said. “The problem of the day is that we have all these commercialised churches who use public media to lure people for personal gains. People have now taken the church for a business enterprise. We condemn all those acts of commercialising the church.”
All attempts to reach Apostle Makananisa for comment were fruitless. Based in Thembisa Zone 10, in Gauteng, he is popular among many people in the country as a charismatic preacher, miracle healer and pastor.
Col Otto said that the police had opened cases of arson, public violence, malicious damage to property and incitement. “We have arrested 17 suspects and they will all appear in court today (Thursday),” she said. “We hope to take in more people for questioning.”
She added that, on Wednesday night, some people attacked the house of Ndadza's younger brother with stones. Windows were damaged.
Date:22 May 2015 - By: Tshifhiwa Mukwevho
Tshifhiwa Given Mukwevho was born in 1984 in Madombidzha village, not far from Louis Trichardt in the Limpopo Province. After submitting articles for roughly a year for Limpopo Mirror's youth supplement, Makoya, he started writing for the main newspaper. He is a prolific writer who published his first book, titled A Traumatic Revenge in 2011. It focusses on life on the street and how to survive amidst poverty. His second book titled The Violent Gestures of Life was published in 2014.