Bible verse on social media lands journalist in trouble

11 December 2017 - 08:14 By Khanyi Ndabeni
Image: Facebook/Alph Lukau

Be careful what you post on social media‚ it might land you in trouble with the law.

Journalist Solomon Ashoms Izang has been found in contempt of court and slapped with a suspended sentence after posting comments on Facebook about controversial Alleluia Ministries International pastor Alph Lukau.

Lukau last month received a Rolls Royce Wraith and a Sandton penthouse for his 42nd birthday. Pictures of the celebration were posted on Lukau's Facebook page with a message thanking his “spiritual sons and precious daughter for the top class toy gift”.

I would like to thank my spiritual sons and a precious daughter who gifted me with this beautiful Rolls Royce Wraith (a...

Posted by Alph Lukau on Thursday, 26 October 2017

This prompted Izang‚ the outspoken editor and founder of Christian magazine The Parable‚ to ask his Facebook followers: “Should Christians give to rich pastors?” The post was accompanied by pictures of the car and the penthouse.

Izang had in May been ordered by the Johannesburg High Court to stop publishing defamatory comments about Lukau‚ his wife‚ or his church. This was after the church took him to court for making comments about a pricey prayer meeting Lukau held last year for single women‚ promising to help them find a spouse. Tickets to the event cost up to R5‚000.

Johannesburg High Court judge Majake Mabesele found Izang in contempt of court for his latest comments about the Rolls Royce and the penthouse‚ and sentenced him to 20 days imprisonment‚ suspended for two years.

The judge did not take offence to Izang's post‚ but rather to a Bible verse he quoted in response to a comment made on his post.

The judge said in his ruling: “The respondent never published‚ directly‚ statements which defamed the applicants. However his positive response to an adverse comment that the first applicant is a false prophet indirectly defamed the applicant. Therefore the respondent should be found to be in contempt of the order granted.”

Izang's lawyer‚ Terry Scott‚ said: “We are going to appeal this. We do not believe he said anything defamatory or derogatory. In the past he might have been wrong but now his attitude and intent was good‚” he said.