Tue Sep 26 07:44:18 SAST 2017

Bishop Modise's poison shock

2017-02-14 09:12:32.0 | Mduduzi Nonyane and Aubrey Mothombeni |

Claims that late bishop of the International Pentecost Holiness Church (IPHC) Glayton Modise was poisoned and killed by one of his wives have ended in court.

These shocking allegations have been laid bare in court papers in which Modise's first wife Mirriam, is suing the late church leader's second wife for defamation.

According to court papers filed by Mirriam and her son Tshepiso, they allege that Modise's second wife, Pearl Tafu, had been spreading rumours that they poisoned and killed the Comforter, as Modise was known in the IPHC.

As a result, the pair had launched two separate lawsuits in which they demand a combined R4-million from Tafu and another woman.

Court papers show that Tshepiso was demanding R1-million from Tafu, with his mother asking the South Gauteng High Court to help her squeeze the same amount from Tafu as well, to clear her good name and reputation.

In her affidavit to the court, Mirriam was also disputing the marriage between her late husband to Tafu, effectively labelling her a nyatsi.

In a separate but related court action, Tshepiso is suing the church's women's chapter leader, Lilian Zondo, for a whopping R2-million, claiming she also spread rumours about him and his mother alleging that they poisoned and killed the man of the cloth.

"During the period 10 February 2016 until 15 April 2016, the defendant (Tafu) made numerous defamatory and false comments concerning 1st plaintiff (Mirriam Modise) alleging that the 1st plaintiff and 2nd plaintiff (Tshepiso Modise) poisoned and murdered the late Glayton Modise.

"The defamatory and false comments were made at public forums to members of the public and members of the church congregation . with the intention to defame the first plaintiff and injure her reputation and good standing in the church and the community," read the courts documents.

Mirriam and Tshepiso said the comments were meant to depict them as murderers and that they were behind Modise's death. They both stated that their reputations suffered damages in the amount of R1-million each.

Tafu has enlisted the services of celebrity lawyer and chairman of the Road Traffic Management Corporation Zola Majavu to help her fend off the hefty lawsuits.

In her answering affidavit, she denied all allegations levelled against her by the duo and did not accede to their financial demands.

Instead, she came out guns blazing and reminded the mother and son that the poisoning allegations had been doing the rounds even before the late bishop's death.

She revealed that Mirriam was barred from the kitchen by the late Comforter after rumours of poisoning emerged and he also wanted to investigate the matter further.

"The late Comforter held an enquiry within the Modise family, in terms of which such allegations, which were made by certain cooks of the late Comforter, were put to Mirriam, and she denied them," Tafu said in her court papers. She said Mirriam only got to be accused of being involved in Modise's death after the cooks recounted incidents of poisoning during a youth meeting of the 3.5-million strong church.

She said it was at the same meeting where Mirriam was accused by the youth of being involved in the death of the church leader.

Tafu also denied that she was Modise's mistress.

"The late Glayton Modise and Pearl Tafu were married during a ceremony solemnised at Silo, the headquarters of the IPHC on 26 February 2012.

"Central amongst the beliefs of members of the IPHC is the acceptance of polygamy.

"Mirriam unsuccessfully sought to interdict such wedding ceremony.

"Pearl is honoured and widely accepted as the wife of the late comforter, Glayton Modise, as is Mirriam," Majavu said in court papers.

Timeline of the troubled church:

February 9 2016: IPHC Bishop Glayton Modise dies after a battle with diabetes. He was 76.

February 12 2016: Modise is laid to rest at the church's headquarters in Zuurbekom, west of Joburg.

April 14 2016: Two people killed during violence at the church's Mabopane, Tshwane, branch.

June 2016: Sunday World reports that Modise was allegedly swindled out of nearly R30-million after a bogus agricultural project went wrong.

July 2016: Sunday World reports that Modise's ex- nyatsi alleged the bishop promised to marry her during their six-year relationship but breached that promise.

August 2016: The deceased leader's first wife, Mirriam, 64, is thrown out of the couple's mansion in Zuurbekom by his second wife, Pearl Tafu, 30.

August 2016: Church elders are robbed of R1.3-million near the Golden Highway in Soweto. One church member is shot and killed.

October 2016: Modise's first wife claims her belongings in dramatic fashion following a court order after she was exiled two months earlier.

December 2016: Reverend Abbey Wessie, a senior preacher and chairman of the church's executive committee, is allegedly moered by angry congregants for trying to boot them out of the church premises in the Letlhabile, Brits, parish. He tries to deny the incident.

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