December 2, 2016 / 2:47 PM / a year ago

Court bars South African 'Prophet of Doom' from spraying congregants with insecticide

JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - A South African pastor who sprays his congregants with insecticide to supposedly cure their ailments has been ordered to desist by health authorities pending a court appearance in Limpopo state next month.

Dubbed the “Prophet of Doom” by local media after images circulated of Lethebo Rabalago using Doom, a popular aerosol insecticide, on members of his church, he has said his methods are harmless and help followers recover from illnesses.

The pastor of the Mountzion General Assembly church, who has sprayed some of his church members in the face, declined to respond in detail when reached by Reuters. “I‘m not saying anything,” he said.

Rabalago was quoted by local media Eyewitness News as saying that God can use mud, saliva, or “even poisonous things to deliver people.”

Derick Kganyago, a spokesman for Limpopo’s department of health, said the regional government had obtained a court order against Rabalogo “until he appears in court in January. Doom is not fit for human consumption”.

In 2014, another South African preacher north of the capital Pretoria urged dozens in his congregation to eat grass for healing. In 2015, the same preacher made his congregants drink petrol promising it would cure their various ailments.

At the time, television news channel eNCA reported that congregants who had consumed petrol were seen collapsing and rolling around the floor with symptoms of nausea.

Reporting by TJ Strydom and Mfuneko Toyana; Editing by James Macharia/Mark Heinrich

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