Bakgatla paramount Chief, Kgafela Kgafela II, has warned that the Family of God Church will not be able to attract any new members around Kgatleng District if they continue to disrespect the tribal leadership.
This comes hardly a week after the High Court made a temporary order that the Church be allowed to worship in Kgatleng pending the finalisation of the case in which the church wants the court to declare that Kgafela has no authority to expel them from Kgatleng.
When the case was heard on Monday, Kgafela was reported to be out of the country. Kgafela accused the Family of God Church this week of deliberately making noise through its loud music to advertise itself.
In court papers filed before High Court Judge David Newman, the church indicated that it was unable to attract new members in Mochudi and that it feared that church members might desert the church if the court does not decide on the case soon.
“They are not going to advertise at our expense,” he said
He said that churches were not supposed to advertise.
“They are not going to get new members if they disrespect the chief,” said Kgafela.
He said that the church was very disrespectful and had, despite many attempts, refused to honour a royal call after being invited on more than one occasion.
He said that the church prays at Linchwe primary school and they would block them from worshipping at the school until they have met the chief.
He revealed that he had decided to call a kgotla meeting on the 15th of May which will, among others, discuss the unpleasant relationship between some churches and the tribal leadership.
He denied charges that he was interfering with the church’s right to worship.
“We are not interfering with their right to worship, how come other churches are worshipping in Kgatleng?” he questioned.
Kgafela also told The Sunday Standard that the Family of God Church has never been banned in Kgatleng.
“We only warned them that we will ban them if they continue disrespecting the Mochudi community,” he argued.
He said that the church has refused to come to the Kgotla and yet continued to make noise.
He said in one occasion the church leaders disrespected Kgosi Sekai Linchwe.
Explaining his clash with the church, Kgafela said that the rift started after his men made an attempt to confiscate the church’s musical instruments after the church played a live band for three consecutive days, adding that the loud music played by the church was disturbing hence the ‘ tribal’ leadership’s decision that the church should be brought to order.
“These are young people….they disrespected Kgosi Sekai and I wrote to their Bishop, inviting him for a meeting and he never turned up,” said Kgafela.
He said that by suggesting that the issue should be settled outside court, he was not necessarily afraid of pressing ahead with the case.
He challenged the church to state which law he has violated, arguing that even the Kgatleng bye laws were clear that there should be no noise.
“There is no interdict against me,” he said.
At the time of going to press officials from the Family of God Church were not available for comment.