Tensions have been running high in Durban today where the High Court has just handed down its ruling on who the next leader of the Shembe Church will be, after a five year court battle. The late Vimbeni Shembe passed away in 2011. According to tradition his title should pass on to his son, Mduduzi Shembe. However Vimbeni’s brother, Vela, claimed to be in possession of a document appointing him as the next leader of the Shembe Church. The majority of the church’s five million strong congregation are in support of Mduduzi, and with concerns about the anger that was bound to erupt should Judge Achmat Jappie not rule in favour of Mduduzi, the police have been on high alert in Durban’s CBD.
In addition to the respect that the title of leader of the Shembe’s confers, the new leader, Vela Shembe, as ruled by Judge Jappie, will also be responsible for the millions of rands in assets that the church controls.
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