NOT all pastors get their powers from God.

And from what the CRL Rights Commission heard on Monday, 16 November, most men of God got their “powers” from dark forces.

This is because they belong to a cult which helps them get power, fame and wealth.

Some of these pastors also allegedly blackmail politicians and have them on their payroll.

The commission was listening to testimony from Apostle Ramabulana Makhado and Prophet Jay Israel, who said they used to belong to a cult.

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They gave insight into how church leaders abused congregants’ rights.

They said most mega churches were led by fake prophets who belonged to cults.

Makhado said he was a member of a cult for over eight years while he led his church, El - Shaddai Tabernacle Centre.

He said he was initiated into the cult at the Congo River in Congo by a creature described to him as half human and half crocodile.

He said an animal was slaughtered as sacrifice and that other sacrifices included human blood.

“People from across the country flocked to my church and home in Soshanquve, Tshwane seeking all sorts of help, including the word of God.

“I knew it was time to quit the cult when I got arrested and my charges later acquitted in connection with human body parts,” he said.

“Leaders who are part of the secret society are controlled by the society. It’s either you do it traditionally or you disguise as a prophet.”

He added that South Africans became victims as they didn’t know witchcraft could happen in the church.

“A blood sacrifice is made at the pulpit to attract a crowd,” he said.

Makhado said he was saddened that some politicians were members of churches led by members of a cult.

“Politicians go to these churches to acquire power for powerful positions.

“There are cameras and tape recorders during one-on-one consultations with their prophets. The politicians will talk private things, which are used to blackmail them,” he said.

“These churches divide mothers from their kids and husbands from their wives. They are creating a division, rather than unity.”

Makhado, who has since shut down his church, said some pastors were against him exposing the truth when he left the cult and started exposing these acts.

Meanwhile, Israel who is originally from Zimbabwe, led a big church in the Eastern Cape.

He told the commission he was Pastor Alph Lukau’s right hand man.

He said he was recruited and initiated into a cult in a particular village in Ghana.

He said the village had many children and he was told they were kidnapped and used as human sacrifices.

He said he was given a horn and he had to slaughter a chicken everyday before going to the pulpit.

“Most big churches are business centres. People should immediately leave the church when the pastor preaches more about money than anything else,” said Israel.

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“As much as I was able to afford the life I wanted, I was empty inside and wanted to commit suicide. I believe should I have been persistent, I was going to do human sacrifices at some stage. It’s like a drug, the more you do it, the more addictive it becomes.”

Israel said he was haunted by evil spirits after he left the cult, which wanted more sacrifices.

“I resorted to alcohol, drugs and women. I loved the rough life. I would party the whole night while I was preaching,” said Israel.

He said the powers enabled him to instruct church members to do what he wanted.

“I used scriptures to manipulate them. They gave me money and cars,” said Israel.

“Most people who believe in prophesy are lazy and want short-cuts. No prophet can make you rich. The problem with our brothers and sisters in South Africa is they believe a true man of God speaks a foreign language.”

Last week, the commission heard explosive testimonies from former church members of Rivers of Living Waters Church led by Bishop Stephen Zondo.

Zondo is accused of financially and sexually abusing his congregation and using supernatural powers.