Mancoba Seven Angels Ministries church leader Banele Mancoba and his co-accused Siphesihle Mafikwana, who were arrested over the weekend, briefly appeared in the Engcobo Magistrate’s Court on Monday on a charge of conspiracy to commit robbery with aggravating circumstances.
It is not yet clear if this charge is related to the Engcobo police shootings and subsequent arrest of six suspects at Mancoba’s Seven Angels church.
Both men said they will conduct their own legal defence and opted not to apply for bail.
Mancoba is expected to reappear in court on Tuesday to be charged with rape, sexual grooming and sexual exploitation, following an investigation by a task team led by the Hawks. It comprised of various South African Police Service units which include General Detectives and Crime Intelligence.
Police rescued over 100 women and children at the Mancoba property. Police National Commissioner General Khehla Sithole alleged that some of them were kept in those premises as sex slaves.
The Seven Angels church has been the centre of controversy after a shoot-out with police two weeks ago in which six people died. Six suspects were arrested after the attack on the Engcobo Police Station. Police later shot dead seven suspects at the church and arrested 10 people. Six were later released.
On February 26, four people appeared in the Engcobo Magistrate’s Court for the murder of the five police officers and ex-soldier, attempted murder of the officer who was admitted at the hospital after being shot in the neck, and robbery with aggravating circumstances. Two more suspects also appeared at the same court last week on the same charges.
All six are expected to be back in court on Thursday for a bail application.