The Star Late Edition
Fraud accused church leader Sandlana linked to identity theft
THE CONTROVERSIAL leader of the International Pentecostal Holiness Church (IPHC) Jerusalem faction, Bhekumuzi Mike Sandlana, in addition to previously being charged with fraud, has now been linked to identity theft.
While The Star was investigating why, according to police reports, Sandlana has two different ID numbers, the paper discovered that the identity documents of the church’s former leader, Bishop Glayton Modise, who died in 2016, were fraudulently used to divert ownership of the church’s buses and other properties from his family.
While it has long been proven that Sandlana was not Modise’s legitimate or illegitimate son – Modise’s family confirmed that Modise had five children, three daughters and two sons – Sandlana’s faction continued to pretend that he was the pre-ordained leader of the church.
Sandlana’s wife, Benedicta Sandlana, opened a case of fraud against him after she discovered that a death certificate had been issued in her name last year and the ownership of her car had been changed from her name to that of Sandlana’s. The church leader and his lawyer were criminally charged.
Modise’s family were surprised to learn that the hijacked church buses were registered to a company named Ntate O Lerato, of which Sandlana is the sole director, and the deceased Modise’s smart ID card was used to complete the transfer of ownership.
The Department of Home Affairs confirmed to The Star that on February 13, 2017, a smart ID was illegally issued in Modise’s name, a year after his death. Captain Augustinah Selepe confirmed that there was an ongoing investigation into Modise’s name and ID being used for fraudulent activities and that the docket was sitting with the National Prosecuting Authority.
Throwing Sandlana deeper under the bus, Sylvia Busisiwe Gumede, a fingerprint officer attached to the Fingerprint Verifications Unit at the Department of Home Affairs, confirmed that Modise was last granted a green bar-coded ID and never possessed a smart ID card.
The Star has information that after Modise’s smart ID was used as part of the documentation in the transfer of the buses, Modise’s properties, cattle and church equipment were targeted. The first bus was transferred from Modise’s estate on June 28, 2021, while the transfer of the second bus was completed on July 7, 2021.
Izak de Villiers, executor of Modise’s estate, alleged that one of the buses, with registration CP80GFGP, belonged to Modise and was “illegally or unlawfully transferred to the Ntate
O Lerato (Pty) Ltd owned by a certain Michael Gilbert Sandlana”.
“I do not know how the signatures and identity documents were obtained to effect the transfer of the bus. And as an executor I did not give anyone permission to sign transfer documents on behalf of the estate.”
Questions have been asked as to why the police have not acted on the spiralling allegations against Sandlana.
A SAPS source told The Star that Sandlana has deep connections within the police.
“There is a long sheet of investigations on Mike Gilbert Sandlana, from guns to theft of Modise’s identity to him killing his wife when she was still alive.
“We understand that when the bishop of the church died and his sons were still young, a criminal group within the church emerged and made Sandlana its leader. That’s what we found. If the matter was reported to the police station the docket disappeared. This case must be taken up with the NPA. This syndicate is too deep,” the source said.
Modise’s combined estate is estimated at about R400 million, with the legitimate heir being Bishop Leonard Modise, who leads the church from its headquarters in Zuurbekom, in the west of Johannesburg.
Sandlana had not responded to The
Star’s questions at the time of going to print.