South African Supreme Court Calls for a New Election in the Trans-Orange Conference

A five year legal controversy over the leadership of the Trans-Orange Conference in South Africa received clarification from the country’s Supreme Court on March 28. In a 44-page judgment, Ef Dippenaar, acting judge of the High Court, Johannesburg, ordered among other things that a new election be held for executive committee members and that the newly comprised committee should have a proportionate number of people representing both sides in the long standing dispute.

The division within the Trans-Orange Conference dates back to February 2013 when the Southern Africa Union called a special constituency meeting “to receive the report of the Diswilmar Farm TOC (West Rand District),” but then used the meeting as an occasion to remove the conference leadership, including the entire executive committee, and then elect new leaders and a new committee.

This election was disputed by those who were in office, resulting in two parallel conferences forming under the management of the respective executive committees, each claiming to be the only legitimate TOC executive. The churches in the conference got caught up in the dispute with various member churches supporting each of the rival groups.

In the order issued by Judge Dippenaar, the resolutions of the February 24, 2013 business meeting removing the existing executive committee and appointing a new executive committee were set aside as invalid. Also set aside were the subsequent resolutions that declared certain local churches not to be in regular standing based on their support of the rival faction.

The present executive committee of the Trans-Orange Conference was directed to convene a regular business session within four months for the election of a new executive committee in accordance with the conference constitution.

Secondly, the committee was instructed to formulate and distribute to all member churches, including those that had been removed from regular standing, guidelines and instructions for the nomination of individuals to be considered for election.

Perhaps the biggest challenge will be that the court ordered the new executive committee to be composed of a proportionate number of individuals from both sides of the controversy. This means the conference will need to identify the number of local member churches that support each of the factions.

Further, the committee has been tasked with including on the agenda a proposed mandate for the newly elected executive committee to list the steps taken by each of the parallel executive committees from February 2013 to date for review and possible ratification or dismissal and determining the appropriate mechanisms to do so.

On the Southern Africa Union Conference Facebook page, the judicial finding was noted in a single paragraph: “Today (28th March, 2018) judgment in the Trans-Orange Conference (TOC) review application was handed down. We have noted the judgment and it is receiving our prayerful attention.”

Of the five comments posted in response to the paragraph, three asked for an explanation of what this is about. Mkhokheli Ndlovu said, “Please use this opportunity to assume leadership and unite the conference. The truth has been ventilated sadly by worldly courts and not by the church leadership. Even so, it’s time to rebuild the mighty TOC.

Bonnie Dwyer is editor of Spectrum.

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it would be interesting to know more about the background of this dispute…from what i’m seeing on google, West Rand District sought to dispose of Diswilmar Farm, and agreed to its sale for R9.6 million (roughly $811,500 U.S)…but while the sale went through proper conference channels, the South Africa Union Conference and Trans-Orange Conference presented them with a fraudulent cheque…adventists in Alberton seem to have been at the epicenter of resentment over this transaction, calling for the resignations of leaders in TOC and SAU, whereupon TOC, SAU, SID and even the GC requested that they refrain from using the adventist name and logo, which eventually led to them taking over TOC…

if these facts are correct, the rift in TOC isn’t likely to heal from a secular court order…at a minimum, proper compensation must be made, and firings would seem to be in order for incompetence or fraud or both…


The best way to accomplish that might be to simply ask each church to send one delegate to the new committee. If it happens to be a large committee, it is the stronger for it. Once things died down a bit, the committee could be trimmed in an organized and agreeable fashion.

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The institutionalizations of religion has been and will continue to be the Albatross of Christsinity. It was a problem even in John and Paul’s day. even Peter and Paul had a go at it.


but this wouldn’t be compliance with the court order for individuals on both sides to be equally represented, since some churches will be larger than others…for instance, if each church sends one delegate, it could be the case that a church of a thousand is under-represent through one delegate, while a church of 50 is over-represented…

This matter is good wake up call to local leadership here in South Africa to note that you can’t silence people by virtue of being in leadership. I was kicked out of church one sabbath morning accused of being a rebel.

This judgement is just the beginning more is still to come, the SAU (Union) is hell bent on seeing the removed leadership wiped off the face of Adventism, they are supported by SEDCOM a so-called arm of property and welfare of the church this side of Africa. Today (S.A. Time) I went back to my home church where I was kicked out when this started back in 2013 they just announced the matter between the “breakaway” Alberton conference and the TOC (Trans’Oran’Confr) is over the leadership will announce way forward. Yet TOC issued a directive to their elders that

  1. they are still in charge and the court says
  2. they must call a session in 4 months
  3. they are in discussion with SAU and SID (Southern Indian Ocean Division) and GC to
    appeal this judgement.

When one sees such and the info paddled at churches to today one wonders if this battle will ever end, there is systematic hate in the Adventist church in South Africa. Blacks vs. Whites opportunities made available to some and certain groups at expense of broader church…

You remember what happened to Ps. Ratsara (Former SID President) he’s also instrumental to this division in the TOC conference.

check out this link - (Pity some parts are not translated)


More videos for your perusal on this matter.


It is unfortunate that the article focusses on the order granted by the court… The article fails to give a clearer context of what the main problem was/is. It fails to highlight the failure of the Union and the Division and even the GC in resolving the impasse. What prompted the Alberton office (not conference) to take the matter to court was the fact that the ‘higher office’ closed the door to scores of members who disagreed with the deliberations of the special session in Bloemfontein, 24 February 2013. The session was declared illegal and we refered to that session as a coup de tat. It was daylight robbery and the Union was the main instigator and organiser. Central to that event was a property owned by the West Rand district (we will furnish more information on this matter later). Central to the farm is a diabolical structure within the Union called SEDCOM, (we have decided to call it SADCON). This organisation has been swindling properties of black churches from 1921, taking advantage of the draconian colonial edict of the 1913 Land Act, where the indigenous South Africans were not allowed to own commercial property. From then onwards, Blacks, who are the overwhelming majority, occupied only 7% of land. SEDCOM has been sold black churches, a school and a clinic belonging to blacks, with no reasons and permission granted by the rightful owners. This gross historical diabolical tendency was brought to a halt when they wanted to sell the West Rand farm. Yes, initially the district wanted to sell the farm but later rescinded that decision. SEDCOM went ahead regardless. It would be interestingto know who the buyer is/was (an discussion for another day). So folks, this matter is far from over. Matter of factly, this is the genesis of a major shift and change in the South African Adventist community. The GC has failed in addressing issues of justice and we are not going to be victim of injustice and criminality anymore. These dastardly acts were perpetrated to our parents. They are going to be stopped by us for the benefit of future generations.


Tremendous interview with Pastor Abraham Setsiba!

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whatever the ostensible aims of the June 19,1913 Natives Land Act were, it definitely solidified and aggravated the land gains stolen systematically from the Zulu, Khoikhoi, San, Xhosa, Sotho and others, from as far back as the 17th century dutch colony of johan van riebeeck…in addition, the 1894 Glen Grey Act had ensured a spatially segregated s. africa, and had virtually forced black africans into perpetual serfdom…systematic land dispossession over several centuries, and what that has meant for black african economic prospects, may be the key pre-apartheid atrocity perpetrated in s. africa that hasn’t received enough attention…

the Restitution of Land Rights Act, signed into law by nelson mandela in 1994, dealt with the issue of dispossession subsequent to the 1913 Land Act…although it is true that this 1913 cut-off date has become less than fixed, it is evident that land dispossession has been an organic thread in the history of s. africa well before 1913, and that restitution will not likely be resolved soon…this is because it isn’t likely that neat records have been kept on who original land owners were, and how much of dispossessed lands belong to them…additionally, it is not hard to imagine fraudulent claims being launched to take advantage of the general confusion…

it is very sad that SEDCOM, an apparent arm of the South Africa Union Conference on behalf of the black church, is being perceived as an accomplice to the injustice that has defined s. africa…

this is a very interesting detail…it would be interesting to know who actually authorized SEDCOM to go ahead with the sale, and why…

yes, it would be interesting, especially if that buyer was a church entity…it would also be interesting to know who benefitted from the sale…

it would be very interesting to hear the TOC - SAU - SID - GC side of this story…if all of this is related to the stripping of Alberton of SDA status, and if this was done in order to cover up injustice that Alberton has been exposing, the sooner we all know about it, the better…

SID’s percentage of total delegates in san antonio was 15%, second only to IAD’s 19%…WO interests in NAD may be interested to know if the same entity that called for discrimination against women in the church has been complicit in discrimination against church members in its own territory…


I see some potential parallels arising with the desire by the GC to declare certain unions and conferences not to be in regular standing based on their support for women’s ordination.


It is very interesting, but remember that so many decades the SAU was under the control of the GC, it was only when the SID came into existence did the SAU gain independence from the GC. So the GC was and is well aware what SEDCOM is all about. It is true that the church office is a trustee of the property, and not owner, unfortunately this is not the case. It is the same SID that promotes discrimination against women, and now what one sow’s one reaps.


No, SEDCOM aka SADCON is both the ‘trustee’ and owner. It decides on which properties to sell, without the input people who paid for those properties. It has never submitted financial reports. It accounts to no one but itself.

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Thanks for explaining that, maybe time to change that. Making each conference trustees of property, and not owners. That means that your constitution must make reference to that, and that the union, division nor GC has authority over said conference. Your conference via your constituency is the only voice that will count, and that is how it will work. That might mean that each conference has to rewrite there own working policy which reflects their constituents input and views.

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Carlo, the TOC established its own trust/foundation. This was a session decision. The Union and SEDCOM are vehemently opposed to this, thus the illegal session in 2013.


The GC is fully aware of the situation in South Africa. The president of the GC was given documents detailing the matter and he turned a blind eye. This mess could have been avoided.


Can someone post the 44-page court opinion?


Be true to your conscience, and fight the power hunger institution in the church.


one wonders if courts in the U.S. would overturn GC actions against PUC and CUC in the same way s. africa’s court overturned GC actions against Alberton…i still have s. african citizenship, but being a DACA canadian, i can’t say i know whether the separation between church and state that exists in n. america exists in s. africa…

This video was made April 2014 a year after the legitimate leadership was removed from Office, the “Alberton” leadership (for sake of discussion Alberton is the location of operation once they were illegally removed) made numerous information sessions to get the general membership to understand what is happening as stated in the video the OG (Orange Grove TOC) stopped people from attending these event’s

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