ZCC questioned after families lose relatives in moria
LOBAMBA – Two families are demanding answers from the Zion Christian Church (ZCC) after their relatives allegedly died while attending and returning from church services in Moria, Limpopo province (South Africa) where the church gathers annually for Easter services.
One of the families lost their sister, Zodwa Maseko who is alleged to have died during the Easter services while the other lost their father, Elliot Mgcibelo Gama, who allegedly died while on a trip to Moria last month.
Details pertaining to both deaths have not been explained as the church has a strict policy on disclosing internal infor-mation and this is frustrating the families.
There are two sects under the ZCC, namely; Bird and Star. Elliot was from the Bird sect. Both sects have one founding father in Legkanyane of Moria South Africa. Gama’s wife, Sibongile said she has tried to get answers as to what happened to her husband but failed.
She said Elliot, who was a well known reverend around Lobamba for his healing powers, left the country on May 12, 2012 in the company of members from the church.
Sibongile said she is almost certain that her husband died either on May 15 or 17, adding that her uncertainty was because of the conflicting reports she allegedly received surrounding his death.
"He had told me that he was embarking on a religious trip to Moria with some of the church members who are senior. He would often travel to Moria time and again, which is why I had no reason to suspect anything when he left this time around. Four members from the church came to fetch him from our place at Lobamba that day.
"A few days after they had left, I received a call from a man who identified himself as a doctor from a certain hospital around the Moria vicinity. This doctor told me that my husband had just succumbed to death. I still remember that call clearly as it totally changed my life though I am trying to come to terms with everything.
"I enquired if he had the right number and what exactly happened; he said my husband was admitted to hospital after complaining of chest pains.
"The caller couldn’t clarify who had brought him to hospital and I hung up," she claimed.
Sibongile said in a state of confusion as the caller didn’t really give her much to go on, she then called one of the people who had left with her husband, but more disturbing news awaited her.
"I was confused because the person I called refuted all the reports and insisted that my husband was alive and was in fact with him at the time. However, for some reason he would not allow me a chance to talk to him. The reason was that my husband was busy and as such I couldn’t speak to him," alleged Sibongile.
She hung up after being promised that Elliot would surely call her immediately he was free. He never called and it was later confirmed that he was in fact dead. She said questions started arising on what happened as one of the people Elliot left with had assured her that he was alive.
She is still confused and wants answers on why this person was allegedly not totally honest with her.
"I now want to know what happens in Moria. All my attempts to get answers have proved futile even from the ZCC headquarters in Moria. What’s worse is that even the people who left with my husband are not forthcoming with the truth.
"I have even tried calling the hospital where Elliot died to at least find out who brought him in, but this doesn’t reflect in their records. As it is, I still have no clue as to what happened to my husband. I don’t know what to tell my children concerning their father’s death," she explained.
Sibongile has never been to Moria and is not a member of the church.
Joel Shongwe, a pastor from the church who assisted in the transportation of Elliot’s remains to the country, explained that there is a discreet ethic in the operations of the ZCC.
"Any communication regarding the operations of the ZCC is discreet. No one is allowed to divulge information, only the communi-cations office in Moria issues statements regarding the church," said Shongwe.
Woman died during Easter services
SIPHOFANENI – A Mankayane woman from the ZCC Star sect is alleged to have died while attending the church’s Easter services in Moria.
Zodwa Maseko, according to Gabi Sibandze who had travelled with Zodwa to the Limpopo province was pronounced dead on April 8, 2012. They had travelled as a group from the same ZCC Ngculwini branch.
Gabi said she was still shocked at what happened because Zodwa was in good health and showed no sign of ill-health when they left.
She said Zodwa’s death was announced to other church mem-bers during the Easter Sunday activities.
"She was in perfect health when we left. However on the Easter Sunday I was shocked when it was announced that she had died. We were never told of the details surrounding her death and I must say it was a shock for me.
"There are many versions surrounding her death, but I can’t really say what happened. I can only confirm that I was with her when we left and that she was in good health," Gabi said.
She was reluctant to discuss the matter further as she said it was sensitive and the church had a strict policy against people talking about church issues.
Two senior pastors, Anthony Matsebula (Siphofaneni branch) and Jim Gama (Manzini branch) could only confirm Zodwa’s death, but were also reluctant to discuss the matter further.
"Our ethics and protocol prohibit me to give a detailed account of what really transpired.
Only the communications depart-ment in Moria is privy to give out that information.
I can also confirm that the woman was part of the Ngculwini branch and she was an active member there," said Matsebula.
Gama also cited the same reason for his refusal to give more details on the matter.
"In as much as we can’t deny that a female member died in Moria this year, we, however, can’t divulge anything further than that.
"We uphold a discreet ethic in anything to do with the church’s operations.
"No pastor or any member can give you clarity on this.
"In as much as we would appreciate giving light on what transpired the discreet ethic prohibits us," said Gama.
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