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South Africa ‘pesticide pastor’ condemned

A South Africa pastor who sprays his congregation with insecticide has been widely condemned.

In a Facebook post, self-proclaimed prophet Lethebo Rabalago claims a pesticide called Doom can heal people.

The company that produces Doom warned of the risks of spraying the substance, while a government commission urged anyone effected to lodge complaints.

But the pastor has defended his actions, telling the BBC he is using unconventional methods to heal people.

The country has seen a wave of practices where church members have been subjected to unorthodox rituals to receive healing.

In photos circulating on Facebook and Twitter, Mr Rabalago, who runs the Mountzion General Assembly in the Limpopo province, is seen spraying the insecticide directly into the eyes and various body parts of his congregants.

He told the BBC’s Nomsa Maseko in Johannesburg that 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.”

He also claims the spray can heal cancer and HIV.

“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,” a post on the church’s Facebook account reads.

In another interview, posted on the eNCA website, the pastor is heard saying: “The truth is, Doom can heal people in the right way.”

But Tiger Brands, the company that makes the product, says it finds the practice “alarming.”

“[We] want to make very clear that it is unsafe to spray Doom or any aerosol onto people’s faces,” the company said in a statement.