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Anglican Church Bishop Dalcy revokes Reverend Nhlanhla’s pastoral licence

By Bahle Gama

Reverend Nhlanhla Dlamini’s pastoral licence has been revoked by Bishop Dr Dalcy Dlamini of the Anglican Church effective November 1.

In a letter dated August 1, the Bishop stated that since Dlamini neither accepted nor declined his transfer from the All Saints Cathedral in Mbabane to Mhlume Parish he was being given a notice that his licence stands to be revoked as of November 1 in terms of Canon 25 (7).

“We refer to our letter dated July 11 that called upon you to signify acceptance or non-acceptance of your transfer to Mhlume Parish after our many consultations,” reads the letter.

The Bishop further stated that on July 13, an email was sent to Dlamini as well as a hard copy and he did not heed the instructions about his transfer, nor did he request an extension to notify the church about his decision.

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“We received a letter from Robinson Bertram who represented the Wardens and they requested to go to mediation, to which we agreed. You still did not approach the office of the Bishop to voice any extension and we refused to entertain them to speak on your behalf because of the Regulations of the Canon,” stated the Bishop.

Dlamini was further implored to consider his stand for refusing to be transferred yet his ministry is required in the Mhlume Parish.

“You have two months from the date hereof to appeal to the Metropolitan about the revocation of your Pastoral licence in terms of Canon 25 (8),” reads the letter.

Court proceedings.

On the same day, the letter was served to Dlamini, he and his attorney appeared before Judge Justice Mavuso to put in an urgent application for an interim order to stop the transfer, which was to be affected on Monday, August 31.

Dlamini’s attorney Sifiso Maseko told the court that the transfer to Mhlume would be detrimental to his family and stands to impact his finances.

“He has children and a spouse that are completely dependent on him for support in various aspects. These range from domestic, scholastic, and medical expenses. The transfer fails to take due cognizance of Dlamini’s personal circumstances and the hardships his family will have to endure should be compelled to transfer to another branch,” Maseko stated.

He further told the court Dlamini is being transferred without being heard by the Anglican Church and the matter has been reported to other structures including the safe church which he described as a body that will be hearing both parties’ complaints and finding a solution. He referred it to as ‘smoking a peace pipe.’

“I am advised and verily believe that transfers within the church are not to be used as a [punitive measure. Given that Dlamini has raised that there was an absence of consultation upon the decision to transfer him, we believe that he is being punished for casting attention to the Bishop’s absence of consultation,” submitted Maseko.

Attorneys representing the Anglican Church Mayibongwe Mntungwa and Mbuso Simelane opposed the interim order application and stated that Dlamini did not stand to incur any harm because the transfer will be effective on November 1.

They are expected to file a replying affidavit on Wednesday. According to different affidavits submitted by churchwardens, following several meetings held with the Anglican church in the early months of the year, the Bishop unilaterally established a Task Team to address the grievances outlined by the parishioners.

Whilst forming the task team was unaccustomed, the effort to resolve the festering tension was welcomed by the parishioners hence the Parish Church Council was surprised when the Bishop then communicated the decision to transfer Dlamini.

One of the complaints raised against the Bishop is her disposition to offhandedly dismiss the parishioners’ concerns.

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“I submit that it appears to be a pattern on the part of the Bishop to take and affect decisions without consideration for varied stakeholders but most importantly the parishioners of the church,” reads one of the affidavits.

On April 23 the Council led a march to the office of the Bishop to deliver a petition listing issues that were called to be resolved including that Dlamini continued to stay at the Anglican branch in Mbabane. It further called for the terms of reference that would guide the task team to form a request that has not been responded to by the Bishop.

On the same day, the Bishop reportedly purportedly communicated terms of reference to certain members of the public after a press briefing. This is disconcerting by the Council for reasons including that such material instruments would have to be codified.

Some of the congregants marching to deliver a petition at the house of Bishop Dalcy Badeli Dlamini

On July 11, churchwarden was advised that Dlamini’s transfer from the church would be affected by the Council and he would be given three months to wind up. It would be effective on July 31.

Dlamini has reportedly communicated his steadfast intention to serve the parishioners at All Saints for as long as the Parishioners and the Council so charged wish to retain him as the pastoral guide.

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On July 24, the leadership of the Cathedral Parish requested the retraction of the letter to transfer, which was responded to on July 25 in which the bishop conveyed her resolute stance.

“Despite vested interest in the matter, the Council has not been furnished with a comprehensive explanation for the decision to transfer,” reads the affidavit.

Court was in session on Monday – Judge Mavuso

Judge Justice Mavuso has clarified to the attorneys as well as members of the All Saints Cathedral that he was in court on Monday and was not attending to any matters.

Judge Mavuso was referencing reports that church members accompanying Reverend Nhlanhla Dlamini left the court at 9:40 pm. after failing to secure a judge to tend to their urgent application which was filed in the morning of Tuesday, August 1.

“The court would like to clarify that it was here until 4:30 pm. yesterday (Monday). There was nothing before the court. If anyone stayed up here until 9:00 pm and ended up praying here (Court), my apologies,” he said to Dlamini’s attorney Sifiso Maseko.

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