Using insecticide repellent for religious healing in Mount Zion Christian Assembly Church, Zebediela is now a thing of the past, thanks to the Limpopo High Court.
On Monday, March 2o, the High Court ordered pastor Lethebo Rabalago dubbed the “Prophet of Doom” to stop using the insecticide on his congregants.
Judge George Phatudi ruled that Rabalogo must stop spraying doom on members’ eyes or any part of their bodies. He lashed out at the pastor, telling him he was neither a scientist nor a chemical expert.
Advocate Humphrey Masilo, legal counsel for the provincial health department, told the court that the government has obligations to protect unsuspecting citizens from harmful practices.
But Rabalago’s lawyer Advocate Edmond Lubisi argued that the insect repellent was administered to people who volunteered and that none of the members of the congregation had died from inhaling Doom.
The court, at last, banned the young pastor from using the spray. This decision was subsequently welcomed by Limpopo Health Department.
In December, the Limpopo Health Department obtained a court interdict to stop Rabalago from spraying or applying Doom on members of his church after a video footage went viral, showing the 24-year-old pastor (who also calls himself the Detective) spraying Doom on worshippers during a service and a prayer meeting for healing.
The video also caused an outcry on social media platforms and from the government. The company that produces Doom – Tiger Brands – warned of the risks of spraying the substance on the body, while a government commission urged anyone affected to lodge complaints.
But a persistent Lethebo continuously claimed that the spray can heal cancer and HIV. He told reporters that he sprayed the face of one woman because she had an eye infection, insisting that the woman was “just fine because she believed in the power of God”.
“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,” his church said on Facebook.
Afterwards, Pastor Lethebo fled his home after Limpopo MEC for health Phophi Ramathuba threatened to take him for a mental evaluation.
Also, while the pastor was holding a service sometime last year, members of the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) in Limpopo disrupted his service and pulled out the tent housing his members. This was after EFF national spokesperson Ndlozi Mbuyiseni had warned him to stop deceiving ignorant blacks or be prepared to face the music of the fighters.
In recent times, South Africa has seen a wave of practices where church members are subjected to unorthodox rituals to receive healing.
In 2014, the pastor of Rabboni Ministries Lesego Daniel broke the internet when Facebook images on the church’s website showed his followers eating grass and flowers on his orders.
In 2015, Facebook images also showed a 25-year-old pastor of the End Times Disciples Ministries, Penuel Mnguni feeding his members stones which he claimed to have turned into bread.
The bizarre religious healing demonstrated were widely condemned by various organisations and individuals within and outside the country.