'Snake pastor' making Christianity a joke - CRL Commission

Johannesburg – The CRL Rights Commission on Wednesday vowed to stop "snake pastor" Penuel Mnguni, following his latest stunt in which he drove a car over his congregants.

"He is bringing the religion into disrepute. We will be going to court to say he is making Christianity look like a joke," commission head Thoko Mkwanazi-Xaluva said.

The Commission for the Promotion and Protection of the Rights of Cultural, Religious and Linguistic Communities intended to issue a summons to force him to appear before the body to explain himself. 

The Facebook page for Mnguni’s End Times Disciples Ministries showed images of him driving over two people outside the Kameelrivier B stadium hall, in Mpumalanga, on Friday, June 3. 

The text accompanying the pictures said the act was a "demonstration of power".

Mnguni previously had his followers nibble on a snake and bite off pieces of a rat's tail.

Mkwanazi-Xaluva said they would first have to hear from him if the images were authentic and had not been photoshopped. If they were authentic, the commission intended taking the matter to the Equality Court.

Mkwanazi-Xaluva said the commission would not stop there. She promised to institute legal action against other religious groups engaged in similar activities. 

"That is our next best option while a legal framework is pending. We need to find a way of slowing these people," she said.

Last year, Mkwanazi-Xaluva sought police protection when Mnguni’s followers and other pastors threatened her life during the commission’s probe into the commercialisation of religion. The hearings, held in October, were intended to make recommendations to Parliament in order to change the law. 

The commission’s investigation was initiated following a flurry of complaints, including one from the SA Council of Churches, against pastors Lesego Daniel of Rabboni Ministries, and Mnguni. The commission failed to get Mnguni to appear.

"This goes beyond just the followers. It’s about billions of Christians," Mkwanazi-Xaluva said, adding that she would not be intimidated by his followers.

"We expect him to bring busloads, but that’s OK. I’m ready. Our struggle is much bigger than humouring hundreds. I can’t be controlled by fear. We are convinced what he is doing is very wrong, irrespective of his followers. We will get to him one way or another."

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