A controversial pastor in South Africa, Lethebo Rabalago, popularly referred to as the Doom Pastor, has been found guilty of assault on his members by praying them with insecticides.
The pastor is said to have contravened the Agricultural Stock Remedies Act, according to a court ruling. Rabalago claims the insect repellent he used in 2016 could heal cancer and HIV.
The pastor is although yet to be sentenced after the verdict by Mookgopong Magistrates Court in Limpopo province.
On Friday, magistrate Frans Mahodi told the court the state had proved its case beyond reasonable doubt that the five people who laid assault charges were violated, South Africa’s national broadcaster SABC reports.
The magistrate said the fact that the complainants “were sprayed on their faces with Doom makes this offence [the] worst of its kind”.
He also revealed some of them had suffered “detrimental side effects… like coughing for more than seven months” after the incident.
Pastor Rabalago – who run the Mount Zion General Assembly – was arrested after it photos of him emerged on the internet spraying hi members with insecticides with the claim that he had used the items to “cure” his followers of various ailments in 2016.
In photos circulating on social media, he was seen spraying the insecticide directly into the eyes and various body parts of his congregants.
At the time, he told reporters in Johannesburg he had sprayed the face of one woman because she had an eye infection and claimed the woman was “just fine because she believed in the power of God”.
Rabalago’s case had been delayed on a number of occasions, most recently when his lawyer forgot his glasses.
It is quite a common occurrence in South Africa as controversial pastors abound almost in every slum of the country. There has been a wave of incidents where church members have been subjected to weird circumstances where the pastors claim they are just in the bid to heal the members of various ailments.