The Thembezinhle faction of the Nazareth Baptist Church has welcomed the ruling of the Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) in Bloemfontein which declared the late Vela Shembe as the legitimate leader of the Nazareth Baptist Church.

The SCA dismissed with costs Mduduzi Shembe’s appeal against a 2018 Pietermaritzburg High Court ruling that his uncle Vela Shembe was the lawful leader of the church.

Mduduzi is the son of the deceased church leader, Vimbeni Shembe, who died in 2011. The two factions took the matter to court in the same year.

Thembezinhle faction spokesperson, Nkululeko Mthethwa, says all the church members are welcome to come to worship at Ebuhleni under their leadership.

“As a formerly Thembezinhle faction we accept the verdict from the Supreme court of appeal. The truth is now setting us free. We welcome the judgement after eight years of legal marathon where we spent a lot of money. Nevertheless it was worthy the cause because we said in fact the will of the late leader must prevail his wishes must be sustained at all cost. Therefore we welcome the judgment from the Supreme Court of Appeal as a church.”