A company which makes a pesticide called Doom has reacted angrily after a South African pastor said he could cure cancer and HIV by spraying it in people’s faces.
In a Facebook post Lethebo Rabalago, who claims to be a prophet, says he can ‘heal people’ by spraying them with Doom.
On social media Mr Rabalago, who runs the Mount Zion General Assembly in Limpopo province near the border with Mozambique, can be seen spraying the insecticide directly into the eyes of people attending his congregation.
Tiger Brands, the company that produces Doom, has warned people the product is not designed to be sprayed at or even near people and a South African government commission has urged people to complain if they suffer as a result.
South African actress and TV presenter Boity Thulo tweeted: ‘It breaks my heart that our people are so desperate for change, they are so easily duped. Their vulnerability used against them. #Doom.’
But yesterday Mr. Rabalago responded to the criticism in another Facebook post: ‘People are so cruel. How can one insult a Prophet of God. Forgive them father for they do not know what they are doing.’
He told the BBC the spray will cure cancer and HIV but only when he uses it and says he 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’.
‘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 Mount Zion General Assembly’s Facebook page reads.
Several people who claim to have been healed by Doom also post their testimonies on Facebook.
South Africa has a history of unorthodox preachers making outrageous claims and has also suffered in the past from urban myths such as the claim that by having sex with a virgin someone can cure themselves of HIV.
Tiger Brands said: ‘We want to make very clear that it is unsafe to spray Doom or any aerosol onto people’s faces.
‘Doom has been formulated to kill specific insects which are detailed on the cans, and the packaging has very clear warnings which must be adhered to.’
South Africa’s Commission for the Promotion and Protection of Cultural, Religious and Linguistic Communities said: ‘We encourages everyone whose rights and beliefs have been violated to report such to the commission.’