Pastor who conducted Zuma wedding rakes in cash

28 August 2016 - 02:02
By KHANYI NDABENI

Lee Moerane has coughed up R5,000 for a prayer session she hopes will result in her meeting her Prince Charming.

The author, businesswoman and single mom from Soweto has been waiting on God to find her Mr Right.

Moerane is one of hundreds of women who will descend on Gallagher Convention Centre in Johannesburg next month for an all-night prayer session for single women longing to meet their soulmates.

"I've always believed that my husband will come from God," said Moerane.

The man she hopes will hurry him along is suave pastor Alph Lukau of Alleluia Ministries International, who has promised to "anoint their ring fingers with marriage".

With a penchant for Armani suits, Lukau - who has his own investment company and 12-seater jet - said God had instructed him to help single women find a good man.

block_quotes_start I have no regrets about buying this ticket as I know in three months' time at least a man will have said hello to me block_quotes_end

"The Lord has spoken to me about hosting an event for women this year. I received a message from God to anoint women who want to get married."

He said he would also be helping "those who are struggling to conceive and having problems in their relationships. Within 90 days their lives will change. It is the prophetic word from God."

Women from more than 40 branches of the church will travel from as far as Paris, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Angola and Zambia for the six-hour prayer session.

But it won't come cheap.

The church is charging R5,000 for a VVIP ticket, while VIP tickets are R1,500 a pop and the cheap seats are R450.

The top price buys a front-row seat close to the pastor and other leaders of the church.

Church souvenirs such as books and T-shirts will also be on sale.

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The pricey tickets have prompted some scathing comments on social media. But Lukau, who conducted President Jacob Zuma's daughter Duduzile's nuptials in her wedding to businessman Lonwabo Sambudla five years ago, seems unfazed.

Speaking from his main church in Sandton - where his office boasts a private gym - the Congolese televangelist said the prayers were free, but the money was needed to cover the venue expenses.

"This is the first event that Alleluia Ministries International has had to ask money from congregants, but it won't be the last. Yes, prayers are for free and we're not charging anything for that, but we need to pay for the venue."

Lukau, who was flanked by a bodyguard, said the 17,000-member church spent more than R50,000 a week busing in people from the townships for Sunday services. Recently, it spent more than R3-million on an event at the Coca-Cola Dome, where entrance was free.

But the Commission for the Promotion and Protection of the Rights of Cultural Religious and Linguistic Communities is not buying it.

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The commission chairwoman, Thoko Mkhwanazi-Xaluva, said any pastor who charged an entrance fee for a religious event was commercialising religion.

"What are you buying for R5,000? The problem in South Africa is that there is no legislation that stops religious leaders from asking money from people.

"There must be a difference between going to a musical concert and attending a religious event. Pastors are not performers, they need to account for every cent they ask from the public," she said.

But Moerane is happy to part with her cash.

"It's not often you get to see the pastor that close in action," she said.

"I have no regrets about buying this ticket as I know in three months' time at least a man will have said hello to me. I don't want to even think about how I will meet him, but I know I will meet a man and get married soon," she said.