Shembe Church congregants welcome new leader Phinda Shembe

Shembe was appointed yesterday at the church’s headquarters in Mthwalume in southern KZN following the death of Inkosi Vela Shembe last month.

FILE: Close to 50,000 followers of the Nazareth Baptist Church, also known as the Shembe Church, leave their church in Ebuhleni, 45km, north of Durban for their pilgrimage. Picture: AFP

JOHANNESBURG - The Nazareth Baptist Church known as the Shembe Church says its congregants have largely welcomed the appointment of new leader Phinda Shembe.

Shembe was appointed yesterday at the church’s headquarters in Mthwalume in southern KZN following the death of Inkosi Vela Shembe last month.

Vela led the church, after winning a five-year high court battle against his second cousin Mduduzi Shembe.

The leadership announcement was made by the late leader's lawyer as a direction by him to choose his elder brother to succeed him.

The church’s Nkululeko Mthethwas said, “There is peace and jubilation. The church is happy, and everything seems to be on the right track.”