Six members of the Mancoba Seven Angels Ministry cult have appeared at the Mthatha High Court in the Eastern Cape for allegedly killing five police officers and a soldier in Ngcobo earlier this year.
The case against the six – Andani Monco (30), Siphosomzi Tshefu (24), Kwanele Ndlwane (22), Siphosihle Tatsi (20), Phumzile Mhlatywa (46) and Phuthumile (31) – has been postponed to April 16 2019 for trial.
They have been charged with murder, attempted murder, conspiracy to commit an offence, possession of an firearm and defeating the ends of justice, among others.
Appearing before Judge Zamani Nhlangulela on Monday, the accused – except Phuthumile – chose to represent themselves and declined to have lawyers.
NPA regional spokesperson Luxolo Tyali said the State felt that it was in the interest of justice for the accused to be legally represented.
“But they maintain that they do not want a lawyer to represent them. Even the advocate for the state went out of her own way to try and persuade them by showing them how dire and serious the charges were and the consequences of them representing themselves, but they still say they don’t want a lawyer,” said Tyali.
The Mancoba Seven Angels Ministry shot to fame early this year when police pounced on members after they got information that the church had been used as a hideout by the attackers of the Ngcobo Police Station.
The cult church was run by seven Mancoba brothers known as the “seven angels”.
Last week, one of the “seven angels” – Banele Mancoba (30) – appeared at the Ngcobo Magistrate’s Court for rape.
Members of the church, including the Mancoba family, packed the court on Monday to support the accused.
Only one of the “seven angels” – Benjamin (23) – has not been linked to any crime.
He was also in court on Monday to support the accused.
Three of the brothers – Xolisa (37), Philile (33) and Thandazile (38) – died in a hail of bullets when they were involved in a shootout with a police task force in February. This followed a raid at the church compound where all ten of the stolen guns taken from the Ngcobo Police Station after the massacre were found.
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 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.