The last supper

POPULAR PASTOR: Utlwanang Jack Motlhabane

ZCC Pastor dies after ‘blessing’ food at a wedding…but was he poisoned?

A Zion Christian Church (ZCC) Pastor who prayed for food at a wedding ceremony only to die from suspected poisoning a day later was laid to rest at his home village of Thamaga over the weekend.

Mystery and speculation surround 69-year-old Utlwanang Jack Motlhabane’s final moments.

Police investigations into the tragedy are on-going, with the cops waiting on the post-mortem results before planning their next move.

No one else is believed to have taken ill after the wedding and it is not yet clear if the food which Pastor Motlhabane blessed was the same food that claimed his life.

The wedding took place on 15 October at Rungwana ward, Thamaga; it was the last marriage Motlhabane would ever attend.

According to Thamaga Station Commander, Moses Kwarare, they were tipped off about a suspicious death on 20 October – four days after the Man of God breathed his last.

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“It is an inquiry we are still investigating. It is alleged that the pastor blessed the food and later on after eating he started vomiting and was taken home where he later went to the hospital. He was given treatment and discharged,” revealed the police boss.

“The following day when he realised his health was deteriorating he returned to the hospital where he died,” continued Kwarare.

The Superintendent further admitted that because his officers only got the report four days after it happened, they were unable to test any of the food from the wedding as it had long been finished.

Meanwhile, speaking to The Voice, the deceased’s uncle, Motlhabane Motlhabane, 65, insisted they never for a second suspected any foul play in the elderly pastor’s death, believing he had succumbed to a short illness.

The last supper
FAMILY REPRESENTATIVE: Motlhabane Motlhabane

The family got the shock of their lives when, a day before they had intended to bury Motlhabane, the police turned up to halt proceedings.

“When we have planned to bury the deceased on Thursday, the police came to us and ceased the burial plans, only telling us that there were allegations reported to them and they still wanted to investigate such allegations,” explained the junior Motlhabane, speaking to The Voice from the family’s home in Motlhabane ward on Friday evening.

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Although he maintained that at the time the family did not believe anything untoward was happening, the old man admitted they were shocked by the things the Pastor vomited up before he died.

“He vomited watery substance like an acid that changed the bucket’s color. I don’t know if the nurses did not want to raise alarm on it or they have given the report to the police, they only said he did not have enough water and put him on a drip to supply water,” said the uncle.

Described by his fellow pastors as a humble, loving soul eager to do God’s work, Motlhabane leaves behind a wife, six children, six grandchildren and four siblings.

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