A Pretoria church charges congregants R9000 to have one-on-one sessions with their Malawi-based prophet.
The Enlightened Christian Gathering, however, denies that the money from the session with Major Prophet Shepherd Bushiri is used to enrich him.
Responding to questions by the CRL commission investigating dodgy pastors and the commercialised selling of religion, representatives from the church said the R9000 was not really a fee.
The church’s Mirriam Motsolo on Monday said the money covered each church members’ accommodation, transport and food. She said it was just to ensure Bushiri found all the “people in one place”.
Motsolo revealed that they had so far this year collected an income of R1.2-million. She said in the financial year the church collected R639938. The commission found the church was in breach of the Nonprofit Organisation Act because it had not been audited though registered as an NPO.
The church said it also had a social responsibility to help bury poor followers.
It also accepts prophetic seeding – which is for the prophet, seeding, tithes, offerings and prophetic channel seeding, for people who want to partner with the free-to-air ministry channel. “Seeding is when you have a special need and what you are trusting God for. [You] plant it and expect to harvest at a later season,” said evangelist Trity Pretorius.
Motsolo said the prophetic seeding money was not sent to Malawi but was used for Bushiri’s travel and accommodation.
Meanwhile, River of Living Waters leader Archbishop Stephen Zondo said last week he would cooperate with the investigation.
The church’s Reverend Andile Mali said the commission was using government resources to destroy churches. “There is no problem if we are selling apples and spinach or whatever at the church. Because whatever we are selling, we [are] also using our money as a church to buy water and to buy whatever we are selling [at] the church.”
Agape International Ministries leader Pastor Busisiwe Thebehali also submitted her ordination and accreditation certificate, among other documents.
She said although being a church leader was a calling, one needs to get qualifications. “You need to be equipped. You need to be skilled on how to handle people because God is entrusting you with a big thing. There is a school where you will be taught about the Bible.”