Shembe church leader rejects Ramaphosa’s R18m donation 

By Celani Sikhakhane

The leader of the Shembe (Nazareth) Baptist Church, Mduduzi Nyazilwezulu, has rejected President Cyril Ramaphosa’s offer of an R18-million donation to upgrade the church’s headquarters at Ebuhleni.

He fears that accepting it would lead to his overthrow. 

Inkosi Nyazilwezulu has suspended several church council members accused of working with ANC-aligned businessman and maskandi music promoter, Xolani Mcineka, to remove him from power. 

The donation, announced when Ramaphosa visited the church, was to build 1,000 houses and develop eBuhleni village for its leaders and members. They currently live in tents and shacks, and no proper road or other basic services exist. 

“After [the announcement of] that donation, Unyazilwezulu [Mduduzi Nyazilwezulu] was instructed by his council to endorse the ANC at the Shembe gathering that was held last year in Pietermaritzburg,” a source close to the church said. 

“The instruction was given by these council members who were already colluding with Mcineka, who is also eyeing this donation. 

“Mcineka was at the forefront of the Thembezinhle faction that challenged the appointment of Unyazilwezulu as they wanted to dethrone him at the Constitutional Court,” the source said.  

“Now he [Mcineka] is back in our faction and is influencing some of the council members to overthrow Unyazilwezulu,” the source said.

He said that Unyazilwezulu then decided to block the R18-million donation as he suspected it was being used to fund a campaign to dethrone him.

Shembe church spokesperson Thokozani Mncwabe said he couldn’t provide a detailed response because the church’s leadership was in Eswatini. 

“On the donation issue, our leader had to stop it because some in the church were pocketing money through that donation, and there were a lot of irregularities,” said Mncwabe.

“uNyazilwezulu was shocked when he saw the commencement of the construction without his knowledge. That is why he had to stop it with immediate effect.”

Mcineka could not be reached for comment.

Pictured above: Shembe Church leader Inkosi Mduduzi Nyazilwezulu Shembe with King Mswati III.

Image source: X


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