Banele Mancoba, one of the seven brothers of the infamous “Mancoba Seven Angels” ministries, briefly appeared at the Ngcobo Magistrate’s Court on Wednesday on a charge of rape.
Banele (30) – believed to be the kingpin behind the cult church which killed five police officers at the Ngcobo Police Station in February this year – is the only one of the surviving four Mancoba brothers charged with rape.
In February this year City Press reported that about 100 young girls were rescued from the church premises in Ngcobo’s Nyanga village – some as young as 12.
They were allegedly being used as sex slaves. It is alleged the rape case against Banele revolves around one of the girls in the church that he married when she was just 15 years old.
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The two have a child together.
His rape case was postponed to December 4 for the National Director of Public Prosecutions to make a decision. It will appear in the same court.
Banele so far has not been positively linked to the main case of the massacre of the five police officers but he is accused number one in a separate crime of conspiracy to commit robbery in a bus depot in Ngcobo last December.
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He also appeared on Wednesday at the same court for conspiracy to commit robbery and robbery with aggravating circumstances, along with 11 other co-accused who are members of the cult ministry, including one of his younger brothers, Ephraim Mancoba (23).
National Prosecuting Authority regional spokesperson, Luxolo Tyali, said the case of conspiracy to commit robbery and robbery with aggravating circumstances related to an incident where a bus depot was robbed in Ngcobo last December, two months before the attack on the police station.
This case was postponed to the Ngcobo Regional Court for December 4 as well.
Tyali said on the main case which involved the killing of five police officers and an off-duty soldier will appear at the Mthatha High Court on Monday.
“The six men who are accused of murdering the five policemen and soldier will appear on Monday at the Mthatha High Court. They will be facing six counts of murder, attempted murder and robbery,” Tyali said. This case, which previously appeared in the Ngcobo Magistrate’s Court, will be heard for the first time in the Mthatha High Court, which meant that the indictment has now been finalised, according to Tyali.
Phuthumile (31), is the only of the Mancoba brothers, to be charged in the main case of murder.
He has been charged with six counts of murder, attempted murder, robbery and an additional count of possession of an unlicensed firearm.
On Monday he will appear at the Mthatha High Court along with his five co-accused, also members of the cult ministry.
The other accused in the murder case are: Andani Monco (30), Siphosomzi Tshefu (24), Kwanele Ndlwane (22), Siphosihle Tatsi (20), and Phumzile Mhlatywa (46).
Only one of the “seven angels”, Benjamin (23), has not been linked to any crime.
Three of the brothers died in a hail of bullets when they were involved in a shootout with a police task force in February following a raid at the church compound where all ten stolen guns taken from the Ngcobo Police Station after the massacre were found. The deceased Mancoba “seven angels” included Xolisa (37), Philile (33) and Thandazile (38).
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On February 21, the country woke up to the news that an unknown group of armed suspects entered the Ngcobo Police Station in the early hours of the morning and without warning, randomly opened fire on the police members on duty.
Three police officers were killed instantly in the community service centre while an off-duty soldier was also shot dead as the suspects were fleeing.
The suspects made off with a police van, taking two other police members.
The bodies of the two officers were later found along the roadside, six kilometres from the police station.
They had suffered gunshot wounds which showed they had been shot execution style.
It was later established that the gunmen had robbed an ATM a short distance away from the police station, and stolen 10 firearms and a police van from the station.
A few days after the attack on the police station police pounced on the Mancoba Seven Angels ministry after receiving information that the church had been used as a hideout for the killers.
When police ordered members of the church to come out so that they could go in and search for the stolen weapons, the church members responded by shooting at the police.
A short gun battle ensued with police killing seven church members, including three of the “seven angels”. They also arrested several suspects and rescued a number of women, including young girls.
In March, police said they were investigating whether the hundred or so young women and girls who were rescued were trafficked into the cult.
Eastern Cape Hawks spokesperson Captain Anelisa Feni told City Press at the time that the investigation had been broadened to include the possibility of trafficking.
“There are people who were rescued there who have children. So we want to establish how old they were when they were impregnated. We don’t know whether they are married or what is happening. We found young girls there with children, some of them [girls] underage,” she said.