During a process of upgrading its operational procedures and internal policies to ensure complete transparency and accountability both by the church and its pastors who render voluntary services to the church members, the leadership of the Universal Church of the Kingdom of God (UCKG) uncovered some irregularities which required further clarification.
An internal investigation was conducted as a priority and within 24 hours of the invitation to disclose any outside business and/or financial interests, those whose disclosure documents produced cause for concern were interviewed. In line with rules of fairness and equity, a legal advisor and witnesses were present at the interviews and the proceedings were recorded to guarantee fair representation and adherence to legal requirements.
In terms of the calling to serve as a pastor, pastors are required to devote themselves to this ministry in a full-time capacity. In return for this service they receive financial support from the church in the form of a stipend and accommodation. Requests for additional assistance are subject to Board consideration.
At a meeting of the leadership and pastor body on Tuesday 6 March 2012 a document formalising the existing understanding that a pastor cannot have a conflict of interests nor an independent income was ratified and implemented. The majority of pastors had nothing to disclose while some pastors declared their activities or involvement in other entities. Unfortunately a small number withheld public information and these pastors and their wives were invited to clarify their position at a meeting on Thursday 8 March 2012.
Everybody was given the opportunity to explain why they had not disclosed the information on the Declaration of Interests document. Many of them stated that they had opened the businesses for the benefit of family members but were not involved in the running of the enterprise nor did they receive financial gain from it. Because they were involved in name only, they had not considered this to be an outside interest. The majority of these pastors chose to deregister the business or transfer the directorship to their family members who were actively involved in the business. The church will work with the pastors involved to restore the breach of trust resulting from their non-disclosure.
Four pastors chose to give up their spiritual calling and resign with immediate effect to pursue their business interests. The leadership of the church accepted their decision.
A number of pastors could not provide acceptable reasons for the actions and their cases will be reviewed by the Board of the Church on an individual basis.
Humulelang Silence Magopane, known as Pastor Joshua, and his wife Moalusi Johanna Magopane did not accept the invitation to participate in the clarification process and refused to offer an explanation in mitigation of their misrepresentation of the facts. They left the meeting. A search in the public domain indicates that Joshua owns a registered church, the House of the Holy Spirit Ministries. This is a direct conflict of interest and the Board of the Church had to make a decision on this situation without having the benefit of his input. The church has instructed its legal counsel to prepare the necessary documentation in order to pursue this matter through legal channels.
The Universal Church of the Kingdom of God will continue to ensure that its operations are completely transparent in order to comply with government, the Reserve Bank and the South African Revenue Service (SARS) regulations. Any breach of trust or dishonesty by pastors will be subject to the discipline of the church leadership. The Universal Church of the Kingdom of God regrets these transgressions, but is confident that it acted swiftly to correct the non-disclosure of proprietary interests. As the church receives public money, it is imperative that it is completely transparent. The church employs an independent auditing company to scrutinise all financial transactions and to guarantee accountability and clarity.
The Board of the Church invites any members or pastors who are aware of any conflict of interests or questionable behaviour to raise their concerns with the church leadership.
For further information, please contact Nametso Mofokeng at the church's public relations department on 011 224 3400 or 083 776 1898 or email .