‘Why would I destroy the church?’

Pastor Nopinky Mdlaleni standing next to the pulpit and the cross which she claims has been vandalised by Bulelwa Godze.

Services at God Is Able Church Ministries, in Mfuleni, have been halted following extensive damage to the premises, allegedly at the hands of a well-known businesswoman, Bulelwa Godze.

It is alleged that the owner of Mhonko Waste management and Security Services vandalised the church and confiscated church equipment, including 200 chair covers, table covers, cutlery, a microwave, chairs, tables and a sound system, a fortnight ago.

It is also alleged that Ms Godze dug trenches inside the church premises and damaged the pulpit. The chairs, with their covers, were allegedly taken in December last year, while the rest of the material was taken two weeks ago.

Mfuleni police spokesperson, Captain Nomathemba Muavha, told Vukani she could not give full details on the matter, but confirmed that a case was opened by the church. “The police are busy with the investigation,” she said.

Church leader Pastor Nopinky Mdlaleni said their fall-out began in December last year after Ms Godze failed to pay her R9 800 for a job she performed. “Ms Godze claims that I owe her R6 000 whereas she is the one owing me money for the job I had done for her daughter. She hired me to do catering and decorations. She also hired the church choir to perform at the ceremony. But I told her that I won’t charge her for the choir,” she said.

Ms Mdlaleni said she has since been trying to get her money but to no avail. She said she was completely shattered when she arrived at the church two weeks ago, to find a group of men vandalising the shipping container structure.

She said she noticed that the men worked for Ms Godze. She did not say or do anything, but instead went to open a case with the police. “I found some of my clothes which I had left here in the church scattered around.

“And I have since seen some of them worn by some people in the neighbourhood. When I ask them they say the clothes were given to them by Ms Godze,” she said.

Ms Mdlaleni added that the situation has left her physically and emotionally traumatised.

She said the only thing she wanted was her money and the church equipment.

Since the incident, she said the church has been forced to conduct services at its Dunoon branch.

But Ms Godze has vehemently denied owing Ms Mdlaleni money.

She said she never hired her to do catering and decorations, but she offered her a free service.

She claimed she had taken the chairs, tables and the sound system belonging to the church to recoup R6 000 owed to her by Ms Mdlaleni. She denied vandalising the church, adding that when she arrived to collect the stuff there were other people collecting material from the structures. “I informed them that she owes me money and I opted to take the chairs, tables and some of her stuff until she pays back the money. “But the cutlery does not belong to her, it is mine and she never returned it when she did decorations at my daughter’s prize-giving ceremony,” she said.

Ms Godze said that she has told Ms Mdlaleni countless times to pay back her money and she would get her stuff.

“ I’m a business person and I have money.

“Why would I destroy the church and what would I gain from doing that.

“She must just tell the truth.

“I want her to be a responsible person and stop spreading lies about me. She can go to the police and open a case against me if she feels that I have destroyed her container which she uses as a church,” she said.