Shembe case: more court fisticuffs

FILE PICTURE: There was drama in the Durban High court as Shembe church members of two factions Ebuhleni faction led by Mduduzi Shembe and Thembezinhle faction led by Vela Shembe fight inside court D, the two leaders are in a legal battle over the leadership of the church. Picture: Phumlani Thabethe

Fists went flying again in the KwaZulu-Natal High Court in Durban yesterday.

A fight between a member of the Ebuhleni and a member of the Thembezinhle splinter faction broke out inside the courtroom.

The court was on a tea break but members from both factions had remained inside the courtroom.

An elderly member of the Ebuhleni faction, who was standing near the entrance to the courtroom, confronted a young member of the Thembezinhle faction, claiming he had deliberately stepped on his toes.

Suddenly a fist fight broke out between them.

Members from both factions intervened and while some tried to separate the two, the elderly man was heard saying: “I will not be disrespected by a little boy. Leave me alone. Let me get him.”

The young man, who had apparently refused to apologise, wanted to grab his adversary. The Thembezinhle faction members threw him outside.

But the threats and finger-pointing did not stop and inside the court the fighting continued. Thembezinhle members, who serve as bodyguards for its leader Vela Shembe who had been seated, formed a chain in front of him.

Police were not deployed to the court yesterday, so they had to be called in to intervene.

It took them more than 10 minutes to arrive at the court and by then the actual fight had stopped, but church members were on their feet, hurling insults at each other.

Police put the different factions of the church on opposite sides of the court and warned them to stay there. The police stayed for the rest of the court proceedings.

Last month, a fist fight interrupted court proceedings when church members disagreed over seating arrangements.



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