DA says church should probe Bishop Ver­ryn

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - POLITICS -

THE METHODIST Church should in­ves­ti­gate whether Bishop Paul Ver­ryn was run­ning a cult at the Jo­han­nes­burg Cen­tral church, he Demo­cratic Al­liance said yes­ter­day.

Spokesman Jack Bloom said this fol­low­ing re­ports by NGOs that Ver­ryn was turn­ing down of­fers of shel­ter for the Zim­bab­weans liv­ing at the church, and his sub­se­quent fail­ure to at­tend the prov­ince’s health and so­cial de­vel­op­ment port­fo­lio com­mit­tee meet­ing yes­ter­day morn­ing to an­swer to the claims.

The Gaut­eng Leg­is­la­ture’s port­fo­lio com­mit­tee had called Ver­ryn and NGOs to a meet­ing so he could an­swer to the claims.

“Al­le­ga­tions were again made by NGOs at the meet­ing that chil­dren were be­ing pre­vented from mov­ing from the church. It’s a great pity that he was not there to an­swer th­ese al­le­ga­tions.

“Ver­ryn’s su­pe­ri­ors in the Methodist Church need to se­ri­ously in­ves­ti­gate whether he has built up a cult fol­low­ing at the church and how this af­fects at­tempts to re­lo­cate the refugees,” said Bloom.

He said Ver­ryn’s con­duct was “un­ac­cept­able”, adding that he could have at least no­ti­fied com­mit­tee chair­woman Mole­batsi Bopape on time. But Ver­ryn dis­puted claims that the church was pre­vent­ing chil­dren from mov­ing from the church and that he was duck­ing the port­fo­lio com­mit­tee.

On his fail­ure to at­tend the meet­ing, Ver­ryn said the meet­ing started 45 min­utes late and he had to leave early be­cause of a long-stand­ing ap­point­ment.

“I ex­plained that it was awk­ward as I re­ceived the in­vi­ta­tion only on Wed­nes­day... and ex­plained that I had an im­por­tant meet­ing to go to,” he said, adding that there was a po­lit­i­cal agenda be­hind the claims.

Bopape said the com­mit­tee would write an­other let­ter to Ver­ryn in or­der to af­ford him time to ad­dress the com­mit­tee and an­swer their ques­tions. –Sapa

UN­DER FIRE: Methodist Bishop Paul Ver­ryn.

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