Photo credit: Jackie Clausen
As a black consciousness organization, Black First Land First (BLF) is well placed to raise its concerns regarding the affairs of black churches. Black churches that cater for the spiritual needs of blacks provide a great historical legacy and heritage for our people which we cannot allow to die at the instance of carelessness and interference on the part of our government in dealing with the challenges of the church.
The leadership challenges of the Nazareth Baptist Church (aka Shembe Church) cannot be solved by the courts in that they are out of touch with spirituality. The latest decision of the Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) that declared the legitimate leader of the Nazareth Baptist Church to be the late Vela Shembe, further demonstrates this point.
The 8 year protracted succession battle for the leadership of the church
(following the death of the church’s leader, Inkosi Vimbeni Shembe in March 2011) between the eBuhleni faction, that recognizes as the rightful leader Vimbeni’s son Inkosi Mduduzi Shembe, and the Thembezinhle faction that. believe that Inkosi Vela Shembe, who was Vimbeni’s cousin, was the leader – needs amicable solution.
BLF calls on the Premier of KwaZulu-Natal, Sihle Zikalala, to immediately desist from using state power to further divide the church.
BLF further calls on the government to stop using its courts to involve itself in the affairs of the church. There should be a clear separation of religion and state.
BLF condemns the decision of the courts that have effectively limited and interfered with freedom of conscience and has granted special rights or privileges to people who belong to a certain faith or faction.
BLF says, let the church members conduct a referendum to decide who should lead the church..
Since the court process is likely to be exhausted right up to the Constitutional Court (CC), we call on this highest court of the land to do the right thing. The CC is urged to give positive direction regarding the separation of church (religion) and the state and to order a referendum by church members to decide on their leadership.
Issued by Black First Land First, National Coordinating Committee of (BLF NCC)
Black First Land First Mail: [email protected]
(BLF Deputy President)
Cell: +27 79 986 7225
This statement was issued by BLF on 31 December 2019