The church where a man was supposedly “resurrected” by a pastor is now backtracking on the “miracle”, Sowetan reports.
A video of pastor Alph Lukau of Alleluia International Ministries church in Kramerville, Sandton, performing the “resurrection” has gone viral over the past few days.
In the video, a Kings and Queens Real Funerals hearse can be seen transporting a coffin into the church where Lukau and congregants pray before the man rises from the coffin, breathing heavily in what is apparently staged to be a miraculous resurrection.
The “dead” man reportedly died on Friday after an illness.
According to Sowetan, Lukau’s church now claims that the “dead” man was actually “already alive” when his “body” got to the premises and that Lukau had only “completed a miracle that God had already started”.
Funeral homes distance themselves
This U-turn comes in the wake of funeral parlour Kings and Queens Real Funerals distancing itself from what transpired at the church at a media briefing, News24 reported.
The “miracle” has also been the subject of much ridicule on social media.
The parlour claimed to have been duped into taking part in the act and reported the matter to the police on Monday, Sowetan reported.
News24 reported on Monday that Kings and Queens, along with two other funeral parlours, claimed the incident was part of a scheme that allegedly involved the man’s family.
“The funeral parlours herein were used individually and separately through various forms of misrepresentations to suit a particular outcome which at the time was unknown to the funeral parlours,” Kings and Queens’ advocate Prince Mafu said in a joint statement.
Mafu said the family and the church had approached Kingdom Blue for the purposes of acquiring a coffin and used Black Phoenix stickers to brand their private vehicle when they tried to secure Kings and Queens’ services to transport the body to “the rural area”.
“It is with regret that the outcome of such a plot/scheme has adversely affected our reputation as service providers, our valued clients and the general public,” he added.
“We wish to reiterate and assure the nation that we remain professional and legitimate in our operations and the events of the weekend have been reported to Jeppe police station for further investigations and our legal team is in the process of handling the matter appropriately,” Mafu said.
The funeral parlours have apologised for the inconvenience the incident may have caused to its clients and said they were working hard to restore their image.
‘He was already alive’
Mafu said none of the three parlours stored the man’s body and added that they were unaware of the church service which later took place.
Sowetan reported on Tuesday that, amid mounting pressure, church leaders revised their version of events on Monday, claiming that the man identified as Elliot in the video had arrived alive inside a coffin at the church gate.
The church’s pastor Rochelle Kombou told Sowetan on Monday that the church was “not interested in responding to critics” who accused them of misleading the masses as they were “preoccupied with doing God’s work”.
Kings and Queens manager in Polokwane, Vivien Mponda, told Sowetan that the hearse had been hired by the church for R2 000.