_____UPDATED 9/8/2015 to add: South Africa: Police Probe Raid of Snake Pastor’s Church
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.
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.
Yesterday concerned residents and members of the EFF descended on the church – a huge white marquee in a yard in extension 13. They demanded to speak to anyone with authority at the church.
No one took notice of their demands. Ignoring the interference, an elder continued preaching and occasionally drew responses of “Hallelujah, Amen” from the congregation.
Not happy with being ignored, the group of about 300 residents and EFF members became agitated.
Some shouted “Let’s burn this church … to hell with this pastor who is destroying our community”. The commotion soon developed into a physical confrontation with some church members exchanging blows with their detractors.
Minutes later the huge tent was set alight. Police were called but by the time they arrived, the tent had burnt to the ground.
A police officer was heard asking a congregant where the pastor was and he was told “he’s long gone”. Before the marquee was burned down pastor Mnguni had been very actively preparing for the service.
Asked for an interview by The Citizen, the controversial pastor said: “Not now, we are preparing for our service.”
EFF, community burn 'Pastor Snakes' church | The Citizen
See also: South Africa: 'Snake Pastor' to Be Probed By Religious Commission