The ongoing battle for who takes over the International Pentecost Holiness Church (IPHC) turned ugly and violent in the early hours of Saturday morning when the late leader’s son Tshepiso allegedly damaged the main gate at its headquarters.
Sources say he did not crash into the gate intentionally.
“He [Tshepiso] arrived and wanted to kick Mmamohau out of the house. The [church] youth got angry and chased after his car. He drove off and out of fear, did not wait for security to open the gate for him. He crashed into it. There were other people with him who were beaten,” said the source.
IPHC leader Glayton Modise died at the age of 76 at Mediclinic Morningside, north of Johannesburg, after a brief illness last month.
Following his death, there has been controversy in the church over who should take over the leadership.
Most congregants do not want Tshepiso as their leader but wanted Modise’s eldest son Michael to take over the mantle of leadership.
Also, the chair on which his mother, Mmapoloko normally sits in the church was broken by angry members of the church making it the second time in recent weeks.
A member of the IPHC said that the two wives the late leader of the church Glayton Modise left behind, Mmapoloko and Mmamohau were in a bitter war since the later’s marriage to Modise in 2012.
The first wife Mmapoloko refused to attend her husband’s wedding to Mmamohau as she allegedly made failed attempts to stop the two from getting married.
The IPHC youth kept watch during the weekend after rumours spread that Tshepiso would be anointed as their leader.
“We were not sure where this would happen and divided ourselves into two groups. Whether the anointing would take place in Jerusalem or headquarters, we would be there to stop it,” said another source.
The church was first established in 1962 by Modise’s father Reverend Frederick Modise in Soweto.
It has a total of 350 branches across South Africa and beyond the borders, with about 3.1 million members.
Several years ago, Modise was also engaged in a battle over the leadership of the church with his brother-in-law, Bobo Bethuel Modise who is married to Modise’s sister Jacqueline.
Bobo later formed his own church, the International Comforters Holiness Church when he lost the battle for IPHC.