The faction of the International Pentecostal Holiness Church operating in Jerusalem in Pretoria has dismissed allegations that the group’s leader, Michael Sandlane is fueling tensions that have led to Saturday’s attack.

On Saturday, five people were killed at the church’s headquarters in Zuurbekom, west of Johannesburg, when armed men stormed the building and took church members hostage.

More than 30 people were arrested and 25 firearms seized.

In the video below, alleged succession battle leaves five dead, many injured: 

Leadership battle

The church has been involved in a leadership battle since 2016 after the passing of its leader Glayton Modise, the son of the founder of the church, Frederick Modise.

The church is home to over 3 million people in Southern Africa.

A priest at the Jerusalem faction, Vusi Ndala says there was no decision made for members to invade Zuurbekom.

“We have an institution. We implement an executive decision based on the decision of the church council. No implementation of any activities will happen without the resolution or decision of the church council. And there was no church council that took a decision that members must go and invade Zuurbekom. Nothing whatsoever.”

SABC’s Thabiso Sithole interviewed Vusi Ndala: 


Attackers are alleged to be members of a splinter group within the church: