Under the instruction of Pastor Lesego Daniel of Rabboni Centre Ministries dozens of followers dropped to the floor to eat the grass at his ministry in Garankuwa, north of Pretoria after being told it will ‘bring them closer to God.’
His controversial methods have drawn criticism from thousands of people although members of his congregation swear by his methods – he is said to have claimed that humans can eat anything to feed their bodies and survive on whatever they choose to eat. ‘Yes, we eat grass and we’re proud of it because it demonstrates that, with God’s power, we can do anything,’ Rosemary Phetha told South Africa’s Times Live.
The 21-year-old law student says she had been battling a sore throat for more than a year, but it was healed after she ate the grass. Doreen Kgatle, 27, of Ga-rankuwa, suffered a stroke two years ago.
‘I could not walk but soon after eating the grass, as the pastor had ordered, I started gaining strength and an hour later I could walk again,’ said Kgatle.
Photos on the Rabboni Centre Ministries Facebook page show the followers eating the grass as well as Mr Daniel walking across them as they spread out on the floor.
Photos that follow show dozens of people getting sick in the toilets – an image of the bathrooms show women clutching their stomach, while the men are vomiting in the sink.
The pastor’s actions during the service prompted a series of online complaints.
One outraged commentator said ‘Is this a scene in a movie…this can’t be real. God created animals to chew grass and made human beings to dominate over animals. Any person who reduces human beings to animals is definitely not of God.’
While another person wrote: ‘Why is he stepping on people? This is inhumane. Shocking.’
The Times Live reported that during a service of at least 1,000 people in a marquee Daniel screamed ‘sleep’ and six people went to sleep.
He ordered other congregants to slap and trample on them, tut the sleepers remain rigid and unresponsive until he ordered them to wake up.
‘You can leave them like this for six months. I love this, I don’t want to be bored. You can even make police go to sleep when they come to arrest you,’ he said.
Although Daniel has not responded to the backlash yesterday he posted on Facebook: ‘God is at work and His people are testifying right now at the farm. TO GOD BE THE GLORY.’