Police scrub away Mancoba Seven Angels graffiti
Ahead of a cleansing ceremony‚ Eastern Cape police are scaling a mountain - literally - to remove the writings of the Mancoba Seven Angels Ministeries Church.
The church stands accused of operating like a cult and of involvement in a brazen attack on a police station in Ngcobo last month.
The Hawks are also investigating charges of sex trafficking against some of the church leaders.
Captain Khaya Tonjeni said a multi-disciplinary team comprising the provincial K9 search and rescue team‚ public order police and operational response services members have descended on the small town for the "mammoth task" of erasing graffiti writings in white and red paint on the mountain above the church.
"The task is a response to a request by community members to erase the writings as authority and consent was not solicited by the then church members‚" Tonjeni said.
"Due to the controversy surrounding the church‚ there was common consensus to remove all the writings."
The team began the work earlier this week.
"The members had to climb up the mountain on the outskirts of town using advanced access and mountain climbing methods in order to reach the highly placed writings on the wall. A large part was erased using black paint to cover the red and white paint."
"Due to it being a laborious and very time consuming process‚ it could not be completed in one day and the operation was stopped in the evenings to be continued on the following day. The operation will be completed later in the week just in time for the cleansing ceremony led by the office of the MEC for Safety‚ Liaison and Transport in partnership with SAPS."
Eastern Cape SAPS provincial commissioner‚ Lieutenant General Liziwe Ntshinga‚ visited the area by helicopter to see the team's progress.
"We want the work to be done without any casualties as we shut the lid of a very painful chapter in the history of the South African Police Service in our province‚" she said.
In 2016‚ Angels Ministry leaders expressed surprise at the reaction by villagers in Khalinyanga over a sign they painted on the face of a mountain behind the village‚ according to a report in the Daily Dispatch.
They said it was an instruction from the Holy Spirit and that they had informed the village’s sub-headman about the church and the painting. But elderly villagers who are members of a sub-headman’s committee denied this. Asked how they managed to climb down a cliff‚ he said: “We used ropes.”