News / South Africa

Ilse de Lange
2 minute read
25 Apr 2018
6:55 am

Brothers fight in court over ownership of church

Ilse de Lange

The International Church of South Africa of Garankuwa took the Apel International Church of South Africa to court.

Picture: iStock

A high court judge in Pretoria had to intervene in a battle between two brothers about whose church was entitled to be in possession of a building in Garankuwa, in the Sekhukhune district.

The International Church of South Africa (Icsa) took the Apel International Church of South Africa (Aicsa) to court, after Apel took over the church buildings, the church’s bank accounts and the church bus, claiming Icsa had been disbanded and claiming sole legal right to the buildings and property.

The legal battle saw two brothers, who both used to be members of Icsa, taking sides against each other in court, after one of the brothers formed his own church.

Icsa was originally granted the right to establish the church site, but Apel has since prohibited members of Icsa from entering the church, claiming Icsa had been dissolved by a 2000 resolution, whereafter all of its movable assets were sold at an auction.

Apel said it had gained independent status as a distinct new church, with all rights of Icsa passing to it.

Icsa maintained only its governing body of districts was dissolved at the 2000 meeting, during which the different districts of the church, including Apel, were granted autonomy and that Apel had no right to the church buildings and other assets.

Icsa said it only became aware in 2013 that one of its former pastors had established Apel as a new church, when the pastor informed members of the church they had to complete a form to become members and that those who refused would be expelled.

Judge Dawie Fourie ruled that Icsa was never dissolved and continued to exist, and that Apel became a distinct and independent new church in 2000, did not take over from Icsa and did not continue as part of Icsa.

He said it was clear that permission to occupy the church was granted to Icsa and that this right had never been ceded to Apel, which therefore had no right to occupy the premises.

He found that two of the Icsa bank accounts had been opened before Apel came into existence, that the church bus was bought with Icsa funds and that Apel had no right to the bank accounts, the church bus, or other church property, except two items it had bought at an auction.

ilsed@citizen.co.za

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