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It was a ticking time bomb waiting to explode. This is how a state and church body described an Eastern Cape cult at the centre of a bloody police massacre last week as calls intensified at the weekend for the government to regulate churches.

The deadly attack on police in Ngcobo on Wednesday and the subsequent mowing down of seven of the suspects on Friday has gripped the country‚ while also shining a spotlight on the strength of crime intelligence.

The cult was on the government’s radar following the rescue of 18 children from its Mancoba Angel Ministries Church in Ngcobo in February last year.

Commission for the Promotion and Protection of the Rights of Cultural‚ Religious and Linguistic Communities chairwoman Thoko Mkhwanazi-Xaluva said after last year’s incident an investigation had been carried out‚ but nothing was ever done.

The commission declared the church a cult after the investigation.[tooltip id=”4500c2f113202943ff1ae30d00c9d4ac”] [/tooltip]“We are not shocked by the latest developments‚” she said.

“We have said it over and over that it is a cult and it is going to explode at some point.”

Mkhwanazi-Xaluva also warned Parliament last year that the cult was a disaster waiting to happen.

At the church on Saturday, an emotionless Thabisa Mkokeli told how she and other congregants had remained calm while a heavy exchange of gunfire erupted in the churchyard.

“They are our kings, looking after us, healing us, feeding us and doing everything for us after getting instructions from God,” she said of the men shot dead by police.

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