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MBABANE – A pastor, some members of the church elders and congregants are alleged to have killed a man who attended a church service while drunk.

Sethu Gamedze died after being chased out of the church, pursued even after trying to hide in two homesteads, as he ran away and allegedly assaulted by the Pastor, Lindokuhle Thwala (30) of Lushini under Chief Ndabefihlwayo, and other church members. Lushini is under Hosea Inkhundla. Lindokuhle is the pastor of Devine Life in Christ Ministries, situated at Lushini in the Shiselweni Region. ‘Devine’ is a frequent misspelling of ‘divine’, according to Dictionary.com.


Lindokuhle was in the company of Sibusiso Tfwala (43), Sifiso Masango (46), Mciniseli Masango (29), Mbuyiseni Mndzebele (30) and Simanga Thwala (39), when allegedly assaulting the inebriated Gamedze. The pastor and the others are all residents of Lushini. They allegedly killed Gamedze by assaulting him several times all over the body with sticks and batons on Sunday, November 12, 2023. According to Sibusiso, on that Sunday, he was in church at Devine Life in Christ Ministries with Pastor Lindokuhle, Mndzebele and other members of the church when Gamedze arrived and joined the congregation. According to Sibusiso, who is also a farmer, Gamedze was purportedly clearly intoxicated. He said the pastor ‘politely’ went to him and asked him to excuse them as he was also disturbing the church service.


“I then saw an alteration between the deceased and the third applicant (pastor), with the deceased drawing a knife at the third applicant. The other members of the church and I then intervened to disarm the deceased of the knife. “The deceased then ran out of the church and we chased after him. He ran into a Shabalala homestead and locked himself in one of the houses in the homestead. While at the Shabalala homestead, other members of the public joined us. They included the second (Sifiso), fourth (Mciniseli) and sixth (Simanga) applicants herein,” Sibusiso stated.

He alleged that while they were at the Shabalala homestead, they saw Gamedze escaping through a window of one of the houses he was in and they pursued him again. According to Sibusiso, Gamedze ran until he reached a Hlophe homestead and again locked himself in a house there. “We had to break a window to get to the deceased, who was then taken out of the homestead. The mob then assaulted him with sticks. Police from Hluti Police Station were called.” He alleged that the police informed them that they did not have a car. Sibusiso said their intention was to hand Gamedze over to the police.


He alleged that they thereafter released him to his relative, who took him away. However, he said they later learnt that he had died.
Sibusiso mentioned that on the following day, they were arrested by members of the Royal Eswatini Police Service (REPS) based in Hluti. He said they were charged with murder. He made these allegations, whose veracity is still to be tested in court, in their application for bail. His co-accused filed confirmatory affidavits.

In his confirmatory affidavit, Lindokuhle, described himself as the pastor of the church. He said on the day of the incident, Gamedze came to the church while under the influence of alcohol. “I asked him to leave the church and he drew a knife at me. That is when the whole church intervened. I was later arrested and charged together with my co-accused, by Hluti police who preferred a charge of murder against me. “I am innocent of the charge I am facing and will accordingly enter a plea of not guilty during the trial. I never committed the offence and I am confident of my prospects of success at trial. I never even took part in the assault of the deceased.  I was at the scene as a spectator of what was happening,” Lindokuhle told the court. The pastor pleaded with the court to grant him bail. He said if he were to be released on bail, he would not escape to any area outside the Kingdom of Eswatini.


He informed the court that apart from being a pastor, he was a small scale businessman, who supplied meat in his community. Lindokuhle also told the court that he had one child and his continued incarceration would be detrimental to his business and family. “I will obviously lose customers and my child is without maintenance in my absence.” The accused persons denied taking part in the assault of Gamedze. They told the court that they would neither interfere nor influence Crown witnesses. The accused persons also told the court that they would not endanger public safety or any person or commit any offence, if released on bail. They said there were no factors indicating that they would commit any offence upon release from custody. The sextuplet filed their application for bail at the High Court. They first appeared in court on November 16, 2023, and were remanded in custody pending committal to the High Court.


They were advised to move their application for bail at the High Court. The accused were detained at His Majesty’s Correctional Services in Nhlangano. They appeared before Judge Mumcy Dlamini for their bail hearing on Wednesday. They were represented by Raymond Mwelase of B.S. Dlamini and Associates based in Nhlangano. Their bail application was not opposed by the Crown. The court granted them bail in the amount of E50 000. They were each ordered to pay E3 000 in cash and provide sureties for the balance.

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Should exam questions be in both English and siSwati?