Forty one men have appeared in the Westonaria Magistrate’s Court on Gauteng’s West Rand in connection with the attack on the International Pentecostal Holiness Church (IPHC) headquarters in Zuurbekom on Saturday.
The men have been charged with murder, attempted murder and malicious damage to property.
Five people were shot dead and their bodies set alight at the church’s headquarters in a siege that lasted for hours on Saturday morning.
The church has been in leadership battle since 2016 following the passing of Comforter Glayton Modise, the son of the church founder Comforter Frederick Samuel Modise.
National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) spokesperson Phindi Mjonondwane says, “Two of the suspects are still in hospital, they will be charged and made to appear in court as soon as they are released from hospital. All other accused were remanded in custody to Wednesday July, 15th 2020 for further investigations.”
#sapsGP Early hours this morning #SAPS was alerted to a hostage situation & shooting @ International Pentcost Holiness Church, Zuurbekom, 30 suspects arrested & seized more than 25 firearms. 5 fatalities are confirmed. The scene is still active with SAPS Hostage Negotiators. TM pic.twitter.com/5sMjYkYFjg
— SA Police Service 🇿🇦 (@SAPoliceService) July 11, 2020
Meanwhile, Police Minister Bheki Cele has assured Leonard Modise, the son of the late Glayton Modise of the International Pentecost Holiness Church (IPHC) that there will be an improved working relationship between the police and the church.
Among those arrested are members of law enforcement agencies who are members of the church and 25 firearms seized.
— ♏ASweets- Little Old Ngwana (@Masweets_Itu) July 11, 2020
The church has split into three factions, between Glayton Modise’s two sons Leonard and Tshepiso, and Michael Sandlana who’s reported to be Modise’s son out of wedlock, to take over the reins of the church.
“Sunday’s meeting has somewhat established better communication lines between the church and the SAPS. And it has resolved to maintain this continuously. While the minister has assured Leonard Modise, the son of Glayton Modise that there will be improved relations between the police and the church, he has however emphasized that the police will not take sides in this matter, but will be guided by the law to prevent any further bloodshed,” says Lirhandzu Themba, Cele’s spokesperon.
The video below shows the International Pentecostal Holiness Church after an attack