High Court blocks Seventh Day Adventist censure

Justice Nicholas Mathonsi

Justice Nicholas Mathonsi

Mashudu Netsianda, Senior Court Reporter
THE High Court has blocked the Seventh Day Adventist (SDA) from censuring the husband of a prominent Bulawayo lawyer who was indecently assaulted by a pastor at the church last year.

The ruling by Bulawayo High Court judge Justice Nicholas Mathonsi follows an urgent chamber application filed by the abused lawyer’s husband challenging the church’s decision to slap him with a seven-month censure without conducting a proper disciplinary hearing.

The lawyer’s husband cited SDA’s Bulawayo City Centre branch and the church’s headquarters, South Zimbabwe Conference of the SDA Church, as respondents.

In his founding affidavit, the applicant, who cannot be named to protect the identity of his wife, argued he was censured by members of the board, deacons and deaconess and elders’ councils for confronting the pastor who indecently harassed his wife and reporting him to the police.

He sought an order nullifying the censure.

The applicant also wanted an order compelling the church to hold a proper hearing which excludes church elders who participated in the decision to convict and censure him within 14 days of the order.

The censure barred the applicant from participating, by voice or vote, in the affairs of the church. It also prevented him from leading any church-related activity and terminated his election or appointment to all positions in the church.

Justice Mathonsi said the church acted arbitrarily in imposing the censure without affording the applicant administrative justice.

“In the present case, the church appears to have acted arbitrarily in imposing the censure without affording the applicant his rights to administrative justice. I conclude therefore that the applicant has established a prima facie right and that there is no alternative remedy that will deliver justice and fairness,” said the judge.

Justice Mathonsi said the censure has the effect of curtailing the applicant’s rights as a member of the church.

“Considering that the respondents will lose absolutely nothing if that decision is stayed. They (respondents) have been investigating this matter since June and November 2016 without a calamity befalling the church and it appears to me that the balance of convenience favours the grant of the interdict,” ruled the judge.

The applicant said the church set in motion a process of investigating him and his wife after Pastor Brighton Ndebele (32) was convicted of indecently assaulting his wife in October 2016.

He said Gasiano Ngulube, the church’s district pastor, launched an attack on him and his wife for taking the matter to the police.

The applicant said his traumatised wife went through counselling after the abuse.

Bulawayo magistrate Ms Adelaide Mbeure last year convicted Ndebele of indecent assault and sentenced him to 12 months in jail, suspending three months for three years on condition that he did not within that period commit a similar offence.

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  • mtshayisa

    Who is Ndebele now?

  • Phaqa

    Zykhupha esabatheni

  • Sikhulu

    Today Mr Editor received his cheque from the elders and you are thoroughly screening the comments. Well done. However, I have this to say about the state of the church today. We are making our children Christians instead of teaching them of how they may become children of God, which is repentance from their sins and asking God in the name of JESUS for salvation. Our college pastor are so devoid of the Holy Spirit and this is why they are so spiritually weak and actually agents of the devil in the church. GOD help us.

    • Paolo Stefano Fistarol

      Maybe,you do not know but SDA has nothing to do with the church of JESUS;because it stands on occultism and not on Christ(madame Ellen White was deeply involved in witchcraft-her visions and revelations are the sad result of her divination-2 Corinthians 11,13-15-…. and this is why she suffered from spiritual troubles until her death;and the same thing happens to a lot of followers and leaders of this religion). May the Grace of our Heavenly Father have a warm welcome in our soul,to protect us from deception,sin and hell(Luke 12,1-12).

      • Ntokozo Tshuma

        Its so sad to note that Paolo Stefano Fistarol (who in his message projects himself as an upright child of God) would stoop so low as to baselessly accuse the SDA church for “occultism” and “witchcraft” without providing prima-facie evidence to his allegations. Truth be told, any church worldwide is composed of individuals who in their very nature are sinners (some saved by Grace, some seeking salvation, and yet others are still yet to understand that they are sinners in need of grace). So its unfortunate that when a sinner in need of grace is caught, people quickly point a finger to a church and not so much the “culprit”. But hey let me remind all and sundry of Romans 3 vs 23 “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God”. Better a sinner whose sins have been exposed (for they are in a better position to realize their need of a savior, need for salvation and repentance) than he who sins are hidden.

        The church should be a place where sinners flock to, for it is at that place were their true condition can be exposed and an opportunity to know about the God of grace, the God of Salvation and the way to salvation. Yes, the Pastor could have erred (after all he is also human like you and me – get me right I DO NOT CONDONE WHAT THE PASTOR DID, its very bad if he indeed did that as a preacher and “a servant of God” in His church.) but can we therefore clandestinely blanket all Adventists as “occultist/witches”, “criminals” and “abusers”. I DONT THINK THAT WILL BE RIGHT!!!!-

        –Job 9:20 “If I justify myself, mine own mouth shall condemn me: if I say, I am perfect, it shall also prove me perverse.”————————-Lu 6:37 ” Judge not, and ye shall not be judged: condemn not, and ye shall not be condemned: forgive, and ye shall be forgiven:”—-READ JOHN 8 VS 2 – 11 and stop acting like the scribes and pharisees

      • Etiwel

        You are completely wrong and you don’t have any source to support your allegations

      • Mhlakazanhlansi

        You need God mate! You have no clue what u’re writing about beyond your fleeting contact with similar-minded but warped individuals….

      • truth

        mmmmmmm …..counter reformation dipped its claws into you……

  • Brian Konson

    What is the nature of this “abuse”?

    If the Pastor was banishing sin then he did well before the Heavens.

    If he (pastor) did this for self interest then this husband must use apply teachings of forgiveness, not to fight just to protect his identity or to pull the pastor down to the mud.

    Let us be (holy) spiritual.

  • MUTASAWAKAROKA

    I’m really surprised at how people feel so attached to these church denominations. Is it for spiritual or material gains? You see people taken advantage of but still remain in the church as if it or the Man Of God is God himself. Stop worshipping humans and their organisations and worship God. Just leave the church/branch or Man Of God and nothing will happen to you.

    • Ras Makate (Mutunhu une Mago)

      You do have a point there mate, some of these attitudes are shockingly zombie-like. The whole church leadership ganged against the aggrieved husband because he had used the law courts to right a wrong, and probably prevent worse in the future. The most practical thing for him and his wife to do is to turn their backs on this particular church or denomination and go elsewhere, but him he chooses to fight to stay on, these vindictive buggers don’t want him around anymore and he is better off elsewhere believe me…. I know the SDA church and have seen them in action here, their holiness is confined to and left within the pages of the heaps of Bibles they parade around with, otherwise they are the very opposite of that word

      • ProudZimba

        He is right to stay and fight to stop the rot. Our country is in a mess because instead to fixing things people decided to go away. Why would you leave God’s church instead of confronting those abusing it.

        • Ras Makate (Mutunhu une Mago)

          I do agree with you some, but these are two different scenarios, the spiritual dimension as represented by the church comes up with a more deadlier angle than our gripe with the kleptocracy in Harare. When a church leadership rises to defend evil in their midst then Satan himself has taken over totally, it’s foolhardy to face him head on

          • Pastor Maldonado

            My brother your contribution is spot on. The only thing in your contribution 2 days ago I might beg to differ in looking at an institution as such. Institutions are of man. I know many in institution that are trying to be righteous. Not easy my friend. Not when you have others that fail to see the light. It is good that we talk like this but this scenario has not spared any institution so to speak. You know what is going on in South Africa Zimbabwe Nigeria and other places. The bible warned us about this. Respect to you Ras Makate (Mutunhu une Mago) May the Lord allows us people like you because you make a good argument. The Lord keep you safe.

      • Etiwel

        You are wrong

      • Ntokozo Tshuma

        You are so wrong brother…may God forgive you for your wrong judgement…

        • Ras Makate (Mutunhu une Mago)

          Unless the news report here is grossly distorted, the whole church brass are up in arms against a member who took the lawful route to right a wrong and prevent more abuse of women by the pervert pastor. Now why would they do so I wonder, the Catholics are paying millions to victims of similar abuse because they swept dirt under the carpet, Confiucious said a wise man learns from another man’s mistakes and not his own. Perhaps arrogance, perhaps stupidity (which I rule out) , perhaps pure evil in their hearts and midst is causing them to want to condone such and hide the truth yet they have seen the Catholics being taken to the cleaners for similar. I am reminded of the abusive boarding master at Solusi Mission who has badly beaten up the kids again and again yet he is never taken to task because he is related to someone high up in the church, parents dare not take a stand because they will face censure too I suppose. When evil and corruption is the order of things at the very top then the whole system stinks to high heavens, no different from ZANU PF which has stank up our country. So my brother those piles of bibles and hymn books the SDAs carry around are no more than a smoke screen, and a masterpiece of self deception for the gullible. This lawyer stood up for justice and what’s right, the evil gang up to condemn him

    • Etiwel

      They know that the SDA Church is the true Church of God on earth

    • Fogmaster

      some of church members make sacrifices to build a better place to worship, only for some moron to assume spiritual authority over you and your wife if the not your household) just because the have been appointed ‘pastor’. It must be clearly known that pastors come and go but the congregants still remain residents and parishioners at the same. The attachment is not bad if you are a strong member.

    • Mhlakazanhlansi

      That is … until we come to pray for you when misfortune has befallen you and you cry in appreciation. You obviously like yourself … usually a religion called self-worship. Enjoy … while it lasts!

      • Ntokozo Tshuma

        tell him Mhlakazanhlansi

  • Noobile

    Its rather a sad development that is happening witch within the SDA church. It is one of the oldest religious institutions in the country and quite a reputable one. I think the church has its channels of handling such cases. Is it the first that someone was censured in the SDA church? NO! So why did the dear brother in Christ go to such lengths in pulling the church down. This also applies to other people who are quick to run to the press when things are not in order in our churches. The effect is you are dragging Christianity in the mud.

  • Msabatha

    This is gross injustice for a reprobate pastor to molest your wife and you get censure for reporting. Obviously the church leadership chose to side with the pastor. It’s so bad, one day if left alone he will make a mistake abambebambe owami yikho elizabona umuntu ngimquma ipenseli emhlanyisayo

    • Paolo Stefano Fistarol

      Because this so called pastor has not been chosen by God(as well the Seventh day adventist church is not a church of God,because it stands on occultism rather than the sound interpretation of the Bible. As a matter of fact,the founders of this religion were deeply involved in witchcraft, The visions and revelations of madame Ellen White were the result of her divination-2 Corinthians 11,13-15,… and this why she suffered from spiritual troubles until her death;and the same thing happens to a lot of followers and leaders of this church). May the Grace of the Lord JESUS fills you with his love

      • Etiwel

        Can you support your allegations.

        • Hoodooo

          Thats an atheist with so much time , leave them be

          • Mhlakazanhlansi

            atheism is self-worship … how sad!!

        • Mhlakazanhlansi

          You need God … sir!!

          • Etiwel

            i NEED GOD YES,EVERYONE NEED GOD BUT MY POINT STILL STANDS.CAN YOUR SUPPORT YOUR ALLEGATIONS WITH VALID SOURCES

      • Ntokozo Tshuma

        Its so sad to note that Paolo Stefano Fistarol (who in his message projects himself as an upright child of God) would stoop so low as to baselessly accuse the SDA church of “occultism” and “witchcraft” without providing prima-facie evidence to his allegations. Truth be told, any church worldwide is composed of individuals who in their very nature are sinners (some saved by Grace, some seeking salvation, and yet others are still yet to understand that they are sinners in need of grace). So its unfortunate that when a sinner in need of grace is caught, people quickly point a finger to a church and not so much the “culprit”. But hey let me remind all and sundry of Romans 3 vs 23 “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God”. Better a sinner whose sins have been exposed (for they are in a better position to realize their need of a savior, need for salvation and repentance) than he who sins are hidden.

        The church should be a place where sinners flock to, for it is at that place were their true condition can be exposed and an opportunity to know about the God of grace, the God of Salvation and the way to salvation. Yes, the Pastor could have erred (after all he is also human like you and me – get me right I DO NOT CONDONE WHAT THE PASTOR DID, its very bad if he indeed did that as a preacher and “a servant of God” in His church.) but can we therefore clandestinely blanket all Adventists as “occultist/witches”, “criminals” and “abusers”. I DONT THINK THAT WILL BE RIGHT!!!!-

        –Job 9:20 “If I justify myself, mine own mouth shall condemn me: if I say, I am perfect, it shall also prove me perverse.”———————–

        –Luke 6:37 ” Judge not, and ye shall not be judged: condemn not, and ye shall not be condemned: forgive, and ye shall be forgiven:”–

        –READ JOHN 8 VS 2 – 11 and stop acting like the scribes and pharisees

        • OkaS’lwane

          Well articulated my brother! We miss you at La Rochelle. Khanyisani, Bethule’s younger brother.

        • Paolo Stefano Fistarol

          My precious fellow,I did not write my opinions,but the plain truth. Evidently,I cannot come to your house to show you this evidence. But,you can always pray to the Lord JESUS,and HE shall reveal to you too,as HE does with countless of your fellows around the world. Shalom

          • Pastor Maldonado

            Over centuries man has aligned himself with certain churches or religions. Good and fine because the bible tells us to feed on each other so that we can grow, hence we live up to Mathew 18 v 20 “For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.” In a manner of speaking all denominations are a cult of some sort. If we go by the definition cult being “a system of religious veneration and devotion directed towards a particular figure or object.” We as Christians are directed around Christianity. We move away from the word cult as the Law might see it because we are not forced to do what we do not want. There are righteous Christians in the Catholic church, the SDA, The Baptist church, The Church of Pentecost , the Methodist Church and others that I might have missed out. Christianity is about your personal relationship with the Almighty. You can attend all these Churches if you have not excepted Jesus as your Savior you are not a Christian. If you make up the numbers in Church you are just a member of that Church and not a Christian. The Lord bless you and open your eyes because the Kingdom of God is not of Man but of God.

          • Paolo Stefano Fistarol

            You are right,it is about a personal relationship with JESUS, and HE will lead us in all truth not in deception. For this reason thousands of adventists every year come out from this religion,because the Holy Spirit set them free from the bondage of evil. It is my daily prayer that God open my spiritual eyes in order to love HIM and my neighbor….. God bless you in your life and ministry.

          • Pastor Maldonado

            This my friend is maybe what God wants us to do. Arguments are enlightening. God bless you too.

      • truth

        kkkkkkkkkkk
        Usadlala…….

      • JRomeo

        the SDA Church does not stand on occultism rather than the sound interpretation of the Bible. The Opposite is true. As a matter of fact,the founders of this religion were NOT deeply involved in witchcraft. The opposite is true. The visions and revelations of madame Ellen White were NOT the result of her divination, they were the result of prophetic visions. Furthermore, Ellen White even expressly taught that the bible’s teachings were to have more weight than her own, and none of her teachings were contradictory with the bible.

      • Teeman

        Hey brother, may you shed more light on your allegations of the SDA church with biblical proof. Thanks

    • Pastor Maldonado

      When people start to understand that Pastors are flesh and blood like them only then will people realise that they should not put themselves in compromising positions. You are not supposed to trust any human beings intention. Instead Pastors and so called men of God take a calling to disperse the word of God. We turn them into “Saints” and when they fail we are disgusted and find fault with buildings or institutions that are supposed to be there for our growth. That is why we have this craze of so called Prophets in Africa at this time and point. They have not failed to disappoint but to their followers when ever they ere or do wrong they are blind to it. Why? It is because their followers are following them and not Jesus. After all the bible does not say for ALL HAVE SINNED EXCEPT SO CALLED Prophets. IT IS VERY CLEAR “for all have sinned and come short of the glory of god”. If you put your faith in man you are doomed.

  • Simz

    kkkkk amaSabatha

  • Only me

    Be the sermon

  • Fogmaster

    This is SDA, where adultery is in the DNA of the church.
    sorry to say.

    • JRomeo

      Actually the opposite is true. the SDA Church upholds the commandments which expressly forbids adultery.

  • xaba

    some of these church people act against the word of the almighty for example its said in the US a prophet in the Later Day Saints (LDS) was jailed for life in prison after it was found that he committed rape on church members wives and children

  • Ntokozo Tshuma

    Mr Editor ….care to explain why my comment was deleted??