The Thembezinhle faction of the Nazareth Baptist Church at Inanda, north of Durban, has sought to clarify Saturday’s brawl where a delegation from the sheriff of the court was prevented from entering the Ebuhleni church premises to serve court papers ordering the Ebuhleni faction to vacate the area.

According to the church’s secretary-general Chancey Sibisi of the Thembezinhle faction it is their legal right to occupy all church properties.

Last week the Supreme Court of Appeal in Bloemfontein granted the Thembezinhle faction an order to lead the church and occupy all properties of the Shembe church, as it’s popularly known.

The battle for the control of the Nazareth Baptist Church took a new turn this weekend when members blockaded the road leading to Ebuhleni.  This despite the recent order by the Supreme Court of Appeal in Bloemfontein which upheld the Durban High Court ruling.  The court ruled that the late Vela Shembe is the rightful leader of the church.

This has done very little to calm the two factions currently at loggerheads.

The Thembezinhle secretary-general Chancey Sibisi says the ruling of the court must be enforced. “It is our legal right and the legal right of the exact leader to go back to the premises of the church and lead from there.  All the papers that were laid before him approved that Ebuhleni belonged to the church not to anyone else,” says Sibisi.

In addition, Sibisi says their side is not at war with their opponents and they are keen for a peaceful resolution as per the court order.  “Our way forward yesterday as you said it was just to pre-empt the entry of Ebuhleni by sending out guards there to check if the headquarters and its properties are properly maintained and there was that resistance.  The next step we have to take now is to go back to our attorneys and find the legal way because we are not in war with the situation as such. We are expecting of course that resistance but let’s just use the law rather than our armies.”

A spokesperson from the opposing faction could not be reached for comment.

Police are monitoring the situation.

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