Joe Mafela poses with his lifetime achievement award from the Comics' Choice Awards. Photo: Comics' Choice Awards
Ngema has since apologised for and deleted that post, saying, "Friends and relatives, I need to make a public apology for posting about the Mafela family and Grace Bible church. I was not appointed spokesperson for the family and neither did I seek consent from them for posting. (sic)."
Now the church has responded, by releasing a statement to the press.
"Grace Bible Church is a non-profit organisation with church facilities in areas where it is operational. The facilities have been funded by the members and serves their needs.
Communities in which the organisation operates sometimes request to use the church facilities and their requests are handled by the facilities division. They then get quoted based on the request.
Grace Bible Church members are not charged for the use of the facilities.
The public has often requested the use of the facilities for memorials and funerals. As a church we only allow them to utilise the premises when they are available. They are required to pay for the overheads which include audio visual equipment and operators.
GBC reserves the right to discuss the terms with families and organisers as is standard with other facilities. We do not comment publicly on such issues, which can only be disclosed by organisers or families."
Joe Mafela's memorial service was subsequently held at Joburg Theatre on Thursday, 23 March.