Cape Town – Even while standing in the dock, a wife, a pastor and fellow church members remained defiant – insisting they can resurrect a corpse they kept in a shack for months.
They all say that rotting Isac Tance of Zimbabwe is only sleeping, after his corpse was found salted and wrapped in sheets in a shack.
This emerged at the Simons Town Magistrates’ Court on Friday where self-proclaimed prophet Rector Ndlovu, 53, Taurayi Mazenda, 22, Millicent John, 26, Lorraine Muchone and Isac’s wife Shylat Kamuposi, 40, made their first court appearance.
They are all Zimbabwean and belong to the Johane Masowe church. The five ditched their bail application, stating they will represent themselves in court. They have been charged with concealing the death of Isac, believed to be in his 40s.
In court, the group wore bright strips of red, green and yellow cloth as headbands – the colours of their church. Ndlovu was barefoot and wrapped in a dark blanket. The group appeared cheerful in the dock, each repeating the same answer when asked a question.
The group was arrested last Wednesday inside a shack with the rotting body of Isac in Overcome Heights informal settlement. The church members had salted Isac’s body and wrapped it in white cloth like a mummy before praying over it in a ritual to raise him from the dead.
The walls of the house were draped in sheets with red strips of material with black crosses drawn on them. Neighbours say these prayers and rituals carried on for three months. The group believe Isac will open his eyes in December and be brought back to life.
Four children, including a four-month-old infant and the couple’s eight-year-old son, who were living inside the house at the time, have since been put in a place of safety. Accused Muchone had been missing for three months with two of the children placed in safety.
State Prosecutor Darlin Buchner revealed Isac had died en route to church in August. He said none of the church members bothered to report it to authorities or call an ambulance. Instead, Ndlovu convinced his congregation to take Isac’s body home and pray for him so he could wake up.
“They all belong to the same church,” said Buchner.
“The deceased collapsed on the way to church and that happened in August 2013.
“Then accused number one [Ndlovu] told the deceased’s wife they must pray for him and take him to Overcome Heights. They were all part of praying for his resurrection. Neither of them notified authorities that he had passed away.”
Buchner added the State was opposing bail because the suspects’ lives would be threatened if they ventured back into the community. But Ndlovu immediately said he was happy to stay behind bars until the case was finalised and his co-accused agreed.
Buchner also revealed Ndlovu’s passport had expired in September and that he was illegally living in the country. Before Kamuposi could be led away, she stuffed a money bag into her 19-year-old daughter’s hand, asking her to use it to bury her husband.
But later, Kamuposi told her daughter she still had faith her husband would come back to life.
“She still believes he is sleeping and that he will wake up,” the daughter explains.
She was unaware of her stepdad’s death or what was happening at the house. She says her brother raised the alarm.
“He must have slipped out and went to play with the children,” she says.
“They asked him where he had been and where his father was. He told them that a snake bit the father and that he went to sleep and that he was going to wake up. That was when one of the kids told an elder who called the police.”
The group is back in court on December 12. Daily Voice