Prophet Paseka Motsoeneng, also known as Prophet Mboro, has given his congregants an ultimatum: they either have to help foot the bill for his legal fees or he will suspend his services for nine weeks.
Mboro wants to take on the Commission for the Promotion and Protection of the Rights of Cultural, Religious and Linguistic Communities (CRL Rights Commission) who plan to regulate the religious sector.
Speaking to journalists at the Incredible Happenings Church in Katlehong on Wednesday, Mboro said he would suspend his services – including his tv show and radio station – from next week if people failed to pay his legal fees and present him with a birthday gift amounting to R4900.
He turned 49 on April 8.
He said that those he had helped over the past 34 years should help pay for the expensive costs that come with broadcasting his ministries to the masses. Mboro said he would carry on helping those who were part of his congregation “if God speaks to [him]”, but he would focus on those who offered to help him.
Mboro, who sported a burgundy bowtie, a white suit with a black lapel and navy and black shoes, made no effort to hide that he had become a brand by listing his various sources of income.
He referred to himself as a recording artist with several businesses. He also sells merchandise. “I have CDs. I’m an entertainer and comedian if I like,” he said, sometimes speaking about himself in the third person. He hit out at the commission, saying it didn’t protect him.
“The commission only cares about how much the church is making, not what we are doing for the people. People are being healed here,” Mboro shouted to applause from the crowd.
He claimed the crowd had shown up at the church when they heard on his radio station that he was quitting.
“The commission does not see the work I do. I will leave this congregation and all the work I am doing for the people if it is so wrong, and Thoko [Mkhwanazi-Xaluva, CRL chair] can come and take over,” he shrugged, as congregants vehemently shouted, ‘No’.
According to Mboro, the large makeshift church is said to boast more than 5 000 congregants. He said that it was time for those whom he had helped to testify and speak up for him in light of recent “attacks” from a body he says lacks integrity.
In a recent report by the CRL, Mkhwanazi-Xaluva slammed the commercialisation of religion, saying that belief systems were being abused and that some so-called religious groupings were engaging in cult-like practices.
Mkhwanazi-Xaluva was specifically referring to “false prophets and charismatic pastors” who were bringing religion into disrepute due to their practices such as spraying congregants with Doom, making them eat lethal Rattex, or letting them drink Dettol for healing. Mboro said that the commission was attempting to do something that it would not understand.
“How will they regulate? Will it be with the Qur’an or the Bible? There are many religions so let us leave people to their faiths. I am being persecuted for associating with the poorest of the poor,” he said.
Mboro added that the commission was only targeting churches and not cultures that practised similar controversial – if not more dangerous – acts. He alleged the commission feared those cultures. He also said that churches should not be grouped together due to the actions of a few bad apples.
Mboro was previously reported to have ascended to Heaven, allegedly posting selfies on a Facebook page under his name that were for sale. He, however, later denied any association with it. Several articles earlier in July also reported that he claimed to have descended to Hell, where he killed the Devil.
Mboro’s experiences were apparently posted on his Facebook page and were later deleted, the reports said.