Residents of Yeoville in Johannesburg are delighted with the South Gauteng High Court’s decision ordering Selvan Crole Marcelle, also known as pastor Elijah Tenkwee, to cease operating his church illegally in the area.
This follows numerous complaints by community members.
The church operated in contravention of city of Joburg by-laws relating to building and land use.
Lovemore Ndlovu said he almost moved out of the area where he and his family had lived for nine years.
“For years our complaints fell on deaf ears. Finally we are going to have peace of mind. The noise from the musical instruments was a nuisance, we are happy about the judgment,” Ndlovu said.
“I and the MMC for development planning, Funzela Ngobeni, were invited to a meeting organised by members of the Yoeville community in March to discuss the matter,” Johannesburg mayor Herman Mashaba said.
“On inspection of several illegal churches in the area, I was shocked and dismayed to discover that churches were operating in residential dwellings that had been converted to house these churches,” he said.
Mashaba said in respect of Marcelle’s church, additions and alterations had been made to the dwelling without approval from the city.
“The city subsequently served Marcelle with contravention notices to stop all activities, including a final notice. Despite this and continuous appeals by the city, Marcelle failed to adhere to the city’s lawful instructions,” he said.
The court has interdicted Marcelle from using the property for any purpose other than a dwelling; ordered that the property may not be used as a place of worship’ ordered the removal of all property, materials and equipment used for the purposes of a place of worship and ordered that Marcelle rehabilitate the property back to a residential dwelling.
“Should Marcelle fail to comply with the court’s order within 30 days, the sheriff of the court will be empowered to enforce the orders.
“While the city believes in promoting and protecting the religious practices of all our residents, such cannot come at the expense of the rule of law within the city.