The Court of Appeal has ruled in favour of Zion Christian Church (ZCC) and its leader, Bishop Barnabas Edward Lekganyane in a matter of a disciplinary hearing involving eleven of the church members.
When throwing out the High Court’s ruling that the said church members were entitled to an interdict pending the church and its leader listening and addressing their grievances, the appeal’s court stated that the members’ case was without merit.
“They could not possibly claim that they had a right not to be called for a disciplinary hearing whose outcome would be determined by evidence. It is clear that the nature of the evidence which would be adduced was and still is unknown,” the judgment reads in part.
The seventeen ZCC members (respondents in the appeal case) had in December 2015, instituted court proceedings against the church seeking an order to interdict and restrain it and its leader, Bishop Lekganyane, from holding any disciplinary hearings against eleven of the mentioned members.
They were scheduled for the hearing in November 2015, but instead demanded- among others, to be given particulars of the charges prior to the hearing.
Through a successful High Court application, they further wanted the church and Lekganyane to address first their grievances which they had lodged in April the previous year, 2014.
They in fact expressed fear that if they appeared before the disciplinary tribunal then, they would be found guilty and expelled from the church.
However, the court of appeal noted that their case lacked a well grounded apprehension of injury or irreparable harm: “The law is that the apprehension must be a reasonable one. In this matter, the fears are only speculative. Further it is noteworthy that even if their fears could materialise and they got expelled from the church unlawfully, they would still have other avenues of taking the matter to such as the other church structures on appeal and if not successful, seek court review.”