Church minister who signed deal with VBS bank has close relationship with the ANC

The minister‚ whose church signed a partnership agreement with the bank that lent President Jacob Zuma money to pay for his Nkandla upgrades‚ has a close relationship with the African National Congress.

On Thursday the Twelve Apostles’ Church in Christ‚ based in East London and headed by Caesar Nongqunga‚ signed a partnership with VBS Mutual Bank.

This means the bank will have a sole mandate to provide the church‚ which says it has 6.8 million members on the continent‚ all its financial solutions.

The partnership will also see church members being allocated VBS cards to pay their offerings in church.

VBS has been asked for comment but had not responded by the time of publication.

Nongqunga has previously come out in support of the ANC and Zuma.

In December‚ Nongqunga told his church members at Moses Mabhida Stadium‚ where Zuma also addressed them‚ that the president should be forgiven for all his transgressions.

“If the president was really corrupt‚ would he still be here among us?” Nongqunga asked to loud applause. “Set him free. What has he done that anyone else hasn’t done?”

In 2011‚ the ANC honoured Nongqunga by presenting him with a portrait embroidered in ANC colours for his contribution to the party’s election victory in the province.

Nongqunga said because he was not judgmental towards Zuma‚ people thought they were friends.

Nongqunga and his church was once victim to a scam by an East London couple when they were duped into paying R7 million.

The church’s executive committee appointed Zola Maziyana to investigate delays in payments due to the church from a Sanlam affinity financial scheme.

Maziyana allegedly said that members of the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) or Asset Forfeiture Unit were assisting him in the investigation and needed to be reimbursed for their costs.

Nongqunga transferred R6.8-million from the church’s bank account and R227 000 from his personal bank account into accounts allegedly held by his wife Zukiswa Maziyana.

Last year‚ the NPA’s Asset Forfeiture Unit handed over a house to the church built with money allegedly stolen from it by the couple.

On Thursday‚ Nongqunga told the Sowetan that he was not friends with Zuma and was not a member of the ANC or any hierarchy of government.