PASTORS are challenging bishop Bheki Ngcobo to visit coronavirus patients and pray for them to show his power.

Daily Sun published a story on Wednesday of Ngcobo calling on congregants to ignore president Cyril Ramaphosa’s ban on gatherings of more than 100 people.

Former close friend to Ngcobo, eThekwini Community Church founder bishop Vusi Dube said he was out of order.

Dube said he knew Ngcobo as a caring person while they were organising support for former president Jacob Zuma during his court appearances, but he has since changed.

He said Ngcobo’s call to defy government was treason.

Dube, a provincial ANC legislature member, said Ngcobo made a political statement to undermine the president.

“I want to challenge him to go and pray for coronavirus patients in their beds rather than gamble with people’s lives. It’s so unfortunate that he is prepared to risk people’s lives to test his political power,”

Dutch Reformed Church Reverend Siphosethu Phungula from Richmond, said Ngcobo was an extremist. He said he has cancelled the church’s mass Easter pilgrimage and instructed his branches to worship at local churches but ensure they were below 100. He said if the number increased, congregants must divide themselves to worship at different times.

SA Council of Churches secretary bishop Malusi Mpumlwana, said Ngcobo would have to take full responsibility for deaths in his church as a result of his defiance.

He said Ngcobo didn’t know that in South Korea, the virus was spread through church gatherings.

Ngcobo said he didn’t take Dube seriously because he was a material bishop and placed his paymaster Ramaphosa above God.

He said the council was wrong to agree with government as if it represented all churches. He said he couldn’t listen to them as it didn’t represent his church and said he was not worried about what people thought about him.