1 March 2018

South Africa: Hawks' Matakata - Ngcobo Horror and Churches As Criminal Enterprises


The case of the Seven Angels Ministry in Ngcobo has gripped the country, as stories tend to do when they involve a sinister cult, stolen guns, police killings, and alleged sex slaves. But when Hawks head Yolisa Matakata appeared before Parliament on Tuesday to report back on specialised units within the Hawks, it was a reminder that some of the horrifying elements of the Ngcobo narrative are not unique to that case.

It is tempting to see the recent events in Ngcobo, Eastern Cape, as uniquely shocking.

To recap: attackers enter the Ngcobo police station in search of guns; they kill five policemen and a soldier, and escape with weapons. Police track those involved to a mysterious church, the Seven Angels Ministry, and shoot dead seven. The church is subsequently described as a cult, and it is reported that at least 100 girls and women between the ages of 12 and 21 were rescued from its premises.

Allegations that the girls were "sex slaves" swirl, adding to the horror of the story.

It's the stuff of nightmares - but also the stuff of South African reality.

Appearing before Parliament's police committee on Wednesday, Hawks head Yolisa Matakata...

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