Pretoria - Controversial "snake pastor" Penuel Mnguni has vowed to continue preaching after the CRL Commission said he was turning religion into a joke.
He claims God spoke to him.
In a video posted to the End Times Disciples Ministries Facebook page on Wednesday, Mnguni who is seated in a brown armchair, quotes scripture and criticises the Commission for the Promotion and Protection of the Rights of Cultural, Religious and Linguistic Communities (CRL Commission) for saying it would stop him.
The commission spoke out against Mnguni after pictures on the Facebook page showed him behind the wheel of a car, driving over two people outside the Kameelrivier B stadium hall, in Mpumalanga, last Friday.
"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 told News24 on Wednesday.
Mnguni claimed in his video that the CRL Commission was lying about him.
"Let us not destroy the world, you are lying too much... the world needs such a gift. This is God's demonstration of power."
Mnguni has previously been criticised for having his flock nibble on a snake, and bite off part of a rat’s tail.
Mkwanazi-Xaluva said the commission would first have to hear from him if the images had not been photoshopped. If they were authentic, the commission intended taking the matter to the Equality Court.
Mkwanazi-Xaluva promised to institute legal action against other religious groups engaged in similar activities, as they were exploiting the poor.
"That is our next best option while a legal framework is pending. We need to find a way of slowing these people," she said.
‘Stay away, Satan’
Another post to the Facebook page on Wednesday was the "main message" of Mnguni’s mid-week service. In it he criticised the media coverage of his services.
"Newspapers can write, but if God is for us but who can be against us? When this church appears on newspapers the hearts of many will be revealed... We shall continue practicing it, even if people leave me there is always an audience from above," he said.
"God told me the reason many don't prosper it’s because they want to be loved by the world. You may be close to me but if you don’t believe in this power, away from me Satan."
He said he was being persecuted because of his power.
"If I go to the bush and start a church they will follow me because I have been made a target. When there's power in you, you become a target. Where ever I step in God is destroys the evil forces, anywhere I go I don’t have to pray by just stepping in there are things that are destroyed [sic].
"You have power I have power when combined we call it a dynamite. I pray God keeps you, this is a horror church it is going to appear in media for free, I will never run away from this power when they call you devil rejoice [all sic]."
On August 9 last year, the pastor’s tent in Soshanguve was burnt down during a march by the Economic Freedom Fighters to protest against his activities. The party claimed local residents started the fire.
About two weeks later, Mnguni claimed to have made congregants speak Nigerian and Chinese.
Mnguni "commanded the sheep to come to the front" and instructed the "spirit of the snake to enter them", according to the Facebook page.
"They started moving like snakes and behaving like snakes. He then sent them to go to Nigeria and they started to speak like Nigerians. He further demonstrated by sending them into the water and commanded them to swim. They all started swimming and behaving like the different creatures living under the sea," according to the page.
In October last year, the CRL Rights Commission held hearings on dubious religious practices, with the aim of making recommendations to Parliament on changing 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.