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South African pastor sprays members of his congregation with pesticide

BY: BBC.COM
Lethebo Rabalago claims insecticide Doom can heal people with cancer and HIV
Lethebo Rabalago claims insecticide Doom can heal people with cancer and HIV

South Africa's government is investigating a pastor pictured spraying members of his congregation with pesticide. In a Facebook post, self-proclaimed prophet Lethebo Rabalago claims a repellent called Doom can heal people.

The company that produces Doom warned of the risks of spraying the substance.

The country has seen a wave of practices where church members have been subjected to unorthodox rituals to receive healing.

In photos circulating on Facebook and Twitter, Mr Rabalago, who runs the Mountzion General Assembly in the Limpopo province, is seen spraying the insecticide directly into the eyes and various body parts of his congregants.

He also claims the spray can heal cancer and HIV.

"Doom is just a name, but when you speak to it to become a healing product, it does. People get healed and delivered through doom," a post on the church's Facebook account reads.

Testimonies of people who have supposedly been healed by Doom have also been posted on the Facebook page.

'Alarming practice'

There has been no comment from the pastor, but in an audio interview posted on the e NCA website, he is heard saying: "The truth is, Doom can heal people in the right way."

When quizzed about the dangerous effect the substance can have on people, he said: "With us we believe God is for everything; people are getting their deliverance."

But Tiger Brands, the company that makes the product, says it finds the practice "alarming".

"[We] want to make very clear that it is unsafe to spray Doom or any aerosol onto people's faces," the company said in a statement.

"Doom has been formulated to kill specific insects which are detailed on the cans, and the packaging has very clear warnings which must be adhered to," the statement added.

The company said it was trying to contact the pastor to ask him to stop the practice.

The BBC's Nomsa Maseko in Johannesburg reports that the government has set up a commission to investigate motives behind these practices.

South Africa's Commission for the Promotion and Protection of Cultural, Religious and Linguistic Communities has also condemned the practice, which it says is "detrimental" to the well-being of people.

"The CRL Rights Commission encourages everyone whose rights and beliefs have been violated to report such to the Commission," it said in a statement.

Many social media users have condemned his antics.

Another South African pastor recently drew criticism after pictures of him driving over congregants were posted on social media.

In another incident, a pastor convinced members of his church to eat snakes and grass, and drink fuel for healing