Limpopo’s self-styled prophet Lethebo Rabalago‚ who sparked outrage on social media by spraying Doom insect killer at close range into people’s faces to “heal” people in his church‚ has been sentenced to an effective fine of R21‚000.
The Mount Zion General Assembly leader‚ who is 25‚ will pay off his fine in installments of R3‚000 a month‚ his lawyer told the court on Tuesday.
Mookgopong magistrate Frans Mahodi‚ handing down sentence‚ ordered Rabalago to one year in jail or a fine of R6‚000 for contravening the Stock and Agricultural Remedies Act 36 of 1947‚ which deals with pest control operators.
He was also sentenced to three years in jail or a R30‚000 fine for assault with intent to do grievous bodily harm. However‚ half of the fine for assault was suspended.
After he was convicted‚ Rabalago’s mother told the court in mitigation of sentence that she would follow her son to prison if he was jailed.
Everista Rabalago‚ 57‚ said life without her son at home would be incomplete.
“He is my everything‚ he is the only one helping since he is my only son.
He protects me and looks after my disability‚” she said.
In 2016‚ ahead of the trial‚ Rabalago told Tiso Blackstar that he used Doom‚ petrol and fire to “glorify God” when he prayed for the healing of his followers.
This was his rationale behind using hazardous materials when praying for healing.
“We are glorifying God. We want God to be seen. We are saying with God anything is possible.”
Rabalago said he had first debuted his Doom can at a prayer gathering in November that year.
“It’s not a matter of inspiration. When one is inspired you are copying.
It’s not a matter of inspiration. No one inspired me.
I just believe in God for anything. We can use anything that you believe to heal people.
“In the book of Genesis the spirit of God was hovering over the water.
[Therefore] everything here on Earth belongs to God. Petrol belongs to God.
Doom belongs to God.
“Some people came with injuries but we sprayed them and they were healed.”
Flowers and grass were also on the list of items Rabalago used to “cure” congregation members.
Rabalago could not say how many congregants were “healed” by Doom but invited naysayers to read the testimonies he posted on his church’s Facebook page.
In one such post on the Mount Zion General Assembly’s (MZGA) page it was claimed that a Mrs Mitala was healed from an ulcer using Doom.
To his critics‚ Rabalago preached love.
“I love them. Their eyes will be opened.
They will know the reality of who God is.
They are critics because they don’t know.
“I’ve already forgiven them. They are my brothers. I love them. They don’t know what they are doing but love covers a multitude of sins.”
Among the warnings on a can of Doom is that it can cause “irritation of the skin‚ eyes and mucous membranes”‚ and it advises users to “keep out of reach of uninformed persons” and “avoid contact with skin‚ eyes and clothing”.
“In case of contact‚ wash thoroughly with soap and lukewarm water … if misuse results in accidental illness consult a doctor immediately.”
In March 2017‚ the Limpopo High Court ordered the “Prophet of Doom” to stop using the insecticide on his congregants or on any member of the public. He was also ordered to pay the costs of the application.