THE leader of the controversial church near Ncgobo alleged to have been involved in an assault on cops has admitted his brother was in a gang. But he claimed the other two were innocent and died for nothing.

Pastor Banele Mancoba reportedly said he was still coming to terms with the loss of three of his brothers.

Mancoba, who vowed that his home would not be demolished by the authorities, said: “We will listen to God to tell us what we must do.”

“We don’t practise Satanism. We follow what’s in the Bible.”

This came after more than 100 girls were found on the premises of the church on Saturday morning after it was accused of being a cult.

Seven men, including three Mancoba brothers, suspected of involvement in the massacre at Ngcobo Police Station in the Eastern Cape last Tuesday were killed in a shoot-out with cops at the church on Friday.

National police commissioner General Khehla Sitole confirmed to City Press that no less than 100 girls between the ages of 12 and 21 were rescued from the cult’s premises and taken for counselling.

Thoko Mkhwanazi-Xaluva, chairwoman for the Commission for the Promotion and Protection of the Rights of Cultural, Religious and Linguistic Communities, said she interviewed the leaders in 2016 and warned parliament that she had serious concerns about the church.

Mzukisi Solani, a spokesman for Eastern Cape Social Development, said officials rescued 18 kids from the premises in 2016.

A senior cop said the cult was started by the brothers’ father but after he died in 2015, they broke away with their mum as they were unhappy with his successor. Speaking outside Ngcobo cop shop yesterday, Police Minister Fikile Mbalula promised the cult would be closed once police had completed their investigation.

#Daily Sun