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Wed Sep 17 13:32:41 SAST 2014

I can even send cops to sleep - 'miracle man'

SIPHO MASOMBUKA | 10 January, 2014 00:12
GRASS ROOTS: Members of the Rabboni Centre Ministries, under 'miracle man' pastor Lesego Daniel, eat grass as part of a ritual to show that humans can be controlled by the spirit of God
Image by: SUPPLIED

The young man in blue jeans and a white shirt has the congregation of about 1000 people under his spell.

"Sleep," he screams. Six people in the marquee immediately go into deep slumber.

The "miracle man" orders other congregants to slap and trample on them. But the sleepers remain rigid and unresponsive.

Several minutes later, he yells: "Wake up,"and they break out of their deep sleep.

"You can leave them like this for six months. I love this, I don't want to be bored. You can even make police go to sleep when they come to arrest you," the "miracle man" preaches as he paces around the marquee.

These are some of the "miracles" that draw hundreds of people from as far away as Limpopo to pastor Lesego Daniel's Rabboni Centre Ministries in Garankuwa, north of Pretoria, where they are, among other things, made to eat grass.

"Yes, we eat grass and we're proud of it because it demonstrates that, with God's power, we can do anything," says Rosemary Phetha.

The 21-year-old Unisa law student says she had been battling a sore throat for more than a year. She claims it was healed after Daniel "turned me into a sheep and instructed me to eat grass".

Her testimony is shared by 27-year-old Doreen Kgatle, of Ga-rankuwa, who suffered a stroke two years ago.

"I could not walk but soon after eating the grass, as the pastor had ordered, I started gaining strength and an hour later I could walk again," said Kgatle, clad in the ministry's R150 T-shirt. Nearby, a visibly sick woman lies draped in a black cloth.

The pastor's "miracles" attract people from all walks of life, including teachers, nurses and accountants, whose luxury German sedans adorn the church's parking lot.

"Miracle" bumper stickers sell for R30 and calendars for R20 each. A little bottle containing "anointing oil", said to possess special powers, will set you back R50.

If you do not have cash, you can swipe your bank card.

When Daniel speaks in tongues, his followers go into a trance, mumbling words in a strange language.

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Wed Sep 17 13:32:41 SAST 2014 ::