The KZN pastor stood waist deep in the Mbilini River on Friday, calling members of his church forward to be baptised. As he called them, he saw something that looked like cow dung in the water, and reached out to remove it . . .

But to everyone’s horror, the object turned out to be a dead woman!

Pastor Zephania Nxumalo of Ukuphila Church of Zion in Mbilini Village in Ulundi was forced to cancel the ceremony and called the cops.

He said: “I nearly collapsed when I discovered that it was a human body.”

He said he would first wait for the family to fetch the spirit of the woman before going back to the river for the baptism ceremony. He said it was important that the woman’s spirit was removed because otherwise she would not find eternal rest.

Police said the woman had in the meantime been identified as Philile Zulu (25) who disappeared on Tuesday.Her mother, Bongiwe Zulu, said her daughter was working at KwaShobede Tavern and didn’t come home after work on Tuesday night.

Philile Zulu
Philile Zulu was found dead in the river after she didn’t return home from work.

“We suspected that something had happened to her because even though she used to knock off late at night, she always slept at home,” said Bongiwe.

She said it appeared that Philile was attacked before being thrown in the ­river. She had bruises on her face.

Her handbag was missing and her cellphone had been on voicemail ever since.

KZN police spokesman Major Thulani Zwane confirmed the incident.

“An inquest was opened at Ulundi cop shop after a 25-year-old woman was found in the river on Friday,” said Zwane.