No rapture - just a huge hotel bill
Jody Nel and Hilda Fourie, Beeld
Johannesburg - A large hotel bill is awaiting a group of South Africans who believed the end of the world would arrive on Saturday.
Johannes Coetzee, who crossed the country spreading the word that the apocalypse was coming at sunset on Saturday, was still staying in the Devonshire Hotel in Braamfontein, Johannesburg on Sunday afternoon along with 80 of his followers.
When reporters visited the hotel, Coetzee refused to talk to anyone. He also didn’t answer his cellphone and didn’t respond to messages.
Coetzee and his group were followers of the American TV evangelist Harold Camping who announced that the world would be shaken on Saturday by powerful earthquakes, after which the “good people” would be taken away.
According to the 89-year-old and his Family Radio station, the rest of humanity would have hell on earth until October 21 when the world would finally come to an end.
AFP reported that Camping had calculated the end like this: He began with the big flood in 4990 BC and then added 7 000 years because God said in the Bible one day was like a thousand years and then subtracted a year due to an error during the switch from the Old Testament’s calendar to the New Testament’s calendar.
Camping had also announced the end of the world in a prophecy in 1994.
Camping could also not be found on Sunday.
Reuters reported that the curtains of his house were pulled shut and no one opened the door.
Coetzee and his followers booked into the hotel on Friday.
According to Shaun O’Reilly of the hotel’s HR department, the group had booked 50 rooms and had not let hotel management know when they were planning to vacate them.
They would owe the hotel thousands of rands.
A single room (without meals) at the hotel costs R689 and a double room costs R1 178.
On Coetzee’s Facebook profile on Sunday there were many messages from people sympathising with him, but also from those poking fun at him.
"Johannes, you can come out of your hiding place now, the danger is gone,” said Daan Prinsloo.
Jan Viljoen said: “Johannes, talk to Facebook. We would like to hear from you.”
Even ANC Youth League president Julius Malema had something to say to Sapa on Friday: “I can’t see that with all the power that we got today, we are going to lose it on Saturday.”
Twitter was also abuzz with jokes.