Jerry Koma, a senior ZCC church member and advocate, claims that Zion Christian Church leader Bishop Barnabas Lekganyane and his disciples are imposing burial and accident insurance on church members in order to profit from them.
In May, Koma wrote a letter to Lekganyane and his ZCC lawyers, Webber Wentzel, after they sued church members in an attempt to change their policies.
According to Advocate Jerry Koma, Zion Christian Church (ZCC) leader Bishop Barnabas Lekganyane and his disciples are suing church members to ensure that the insurance scheme benefits him and his son Edward Lekganyane.
According to Sunday World, Lekganyane and his disciples made headlines in May when they took their church members to court to obtain their consent to change the terms of their burial and accident insurance policies.
In court documents filed at the Pretoria High Court, the ZCC leader and his son Edward Lekganyane are requesting that the court amend the terms and conditions of the insurance scheme, Kganya Benefit Fund Trust, which is underwritten by Sanlam Developing Markets.
The trust’s beneficiaries have been paying for the scheme through group policies, and the payments have been documented in the booklet titled Pukwana Ya Kganya, which they received from their branch leaders.
According to the church, Sanlam was unable to continue with the group policies due to changes in insurance laws, so they needed them changed, and those who meet the terms and conditions of the amended ones will continue to enjoy the benefits.
All ZCC members who did not agree with the amendment were invited to file a motion of intention, which will be heard on August 3.
Sunday Worlds reports that, Koma’s letter claims that the insurance scheme was a money-making scheme, which contradicts the Commission for the Promotion and Protection of the Rights of Cultural (CRL) Commission’s request that churches not use their congregants to enrich themselves.
“Save to state that Kganya Insurance is a business, which was not supposed to be imposed in a church such as ZCC, which has majority of poor and vulnerable members… explain further as to why our bishop has established this business in his church while the CRL Commission has warned all religious leaders to stop and/or refrain from the idea of using their congregations to do business, taking advantage of their belief in them.”
Koma, a former Mpumalanga magistrate, also questions why the scheme requires married members to have separate Kganya books instead of one.
The advocate goes on to say that the church should give members the option to leave or join the scheme on their own terms, and that the scheme’s financial or bank statements should be made available.
Webber Wentzel’s Zelda Swanepoel denies Lekganyane is defrauding his members and claims Koma misunderstood the application and the relief.
Swanepoel adds that Koma’s membership in the trust was voluntary, and he could leave at any time, but that the bank statements he requested were irrelevant to the application.
She also advises him to avoid writing letters to the church and instead direct such correspondence to the law firm because he lacks a legal basis to oppose the application.
Koma insists that he will continue to oppose the application even if Webber and Wentzel seek a cost order against him.