SPCA investigates 'snake pastor'
Andrew Kekana says they will investigate if Penuel Mnguni was cruel to animals.
JOHANNESBURG - The SPCA has warned a Soshanguve pastor that it may take action against him for allegedly feeding snakes to his followers.
Penuel Mnguni is the understudy of another pastor, Lesego Daniel, who made his followers eat grass and drink petrol claiming to turn rocks into bread, snakes into chocolate and even members of his congregation into snakes.
The SPCA's Andrew Kekana said they would investigate if Penuel Mnguni was cruel to animals.
"A snake can't be fed to a human being, especially if it's alive, that's cruel. We're busy with the investigation. We give assurance that if necessary we'll charge the person."
He said they visited Mnguni's church but could not find any snakes or animals and said Mnguni didn't show them where he got the snake.
Kekana said that most snakes in South Africa are protected and there are few laws that the so-called prophet may have contravened.
On Thursday, the National Interfaith Council of South Africa condemned the actions.
Images on Mnguni's Facebook page show him feeding snakes to members of his congregation as they writhe on the ground with their tongues sticking out.
Reverend Thamin Mvambo said such practices were harmful to society and they commercialised religion.
"Any kind of religion that propagates ideas that are unacceptable, we cannot support that."
He said these so-called prophets don't want to engage with anybody to explain how their alleged miracles assist their followers.
"Their claims are not even founded in any scripture; [these are] things that they are actually propagating out of their own minds."
But Mvambo said the state could not intervene because there is freedom of religion in South Africa and it was up to religious leaders to self-regulate.