Police officials in South Africa are investigating the recent raid of a church, headed by a self-professed pastor, known for making his followers ingest snakes and rats. Activists from the country’s opposition party, Economic Freedom Fighters, disrupted a church service near the capital city of Pretoria, burning down at least one tent in the process. EFF activists said they were carrying out the raid because they wanted the church’s head, Pastor Penuel Mnguni, to lead by example; by eating snakes and rats himself.
The party’s spokesperson, Mbuyiseni Ndlozi, also tweeted about the pastor’s subsequent escape, while clarifying why the activists were unable to confront him.
— Mbuyiseni Ndlozi (@MbuyiseniNdlozi) August 9, 2015
While Mnguni gained significant notoriety from photographs showing him dangling live snakes into the mouths of his followers, police officials recently withdrew charges of animal cruelty that were lodged against the pastor. Police spokesperson Mathews Nkoadi said in a statement that there were not enough eyewitnesses or evidence to pursue the case against Mnguni.
Popularly known as ‘snake pastor’, Mnguni heads End Times Disciples Ministries in Soshanguve. On August 9, EFF activists proceeded towards the church, carrying snakes, mice and lizards with them.
“We are fighting corruption and this man is [allegedly] a prime example of that,” EFF official Mandisa Mashego said at the time of the raid.
The activists left the scene after a tent affiliated with the church was brought down and set ablaze. In one bizarre instance, a young man attacked a student after being told by the preacher that the student’s hair was food. Reportedly, the congregation continued with its service thereafter.
The South African Council of Churches has previously condemned the activities of such congregations, calling them heretical.
“There are people who are trying to make money off the desperation of people, and that is exactly why you need some sort of mechanism for serving a standard on how churches are run,” general secretary Bishop Malusi Mpumlwana said.
As a matter of fact, South Africa happens to be one of the most backward countries in the world; with high rates of poverty, illiteracy and unemployment.
Photo Credits: ViralSpell