GOVERNMENT yesterday dismissed claims that a Zimbabwean man was “resurrected” by a controversial pastor in South Africa as his body was being brought home, saying no repatriation papers had been processed to support the claims.
Zimbabwe’s Consul General to South Africa Mr Batiraishe Mukonoweshuro set the record straight in an interview with The Chronicle following claims by Congolese prophet based in South Africa, Mr Alph Lukau, of the Alleluia International Ministries church on Sunday that he had “resurrected” a Zimbabwean who had died on Friday in Johannesburg.
During a service at his church in Sandton, Johannesburg on Sunday, Mr Lukau said the family of the deceased man decided to stop over for a few minutes before heading to Zimbabwe with the body.
In the video circulating on social media, Mr Lukau is seen touching the deceased man in a coffin who is dressed in all white and after a few utterances the dead man sits up with his mouth wide open while church members jump in jubilation.
Mr Lukau then continues “speaking in tongues.”
“Can you see what happened? This man died since Friday, he was in the mortuary,” he told cheering congregants.
“This is a sign that no matter what the devil’s done, it is over. Devil, I told you, wherever I find you, I will kick you.”
The alleged Sunday miracle has received criticism from all angles and has attracted a lawsuit from a funeral parlour.
In what has been widely dismissed as a poorly staged miracle, a Kings and Queens Funeral Services hearse was used to carry the coffin from an unknown house to Sandton where the church service was conducted.
The “resurrected” man has not yet been identified officially, but some reports in South Africa reported that he was named Elliot.
However, Mr Mukonoweshuro, who signs repatriation letters for locals who die in the neighbouring country said he was not in possession of papers clearing any Zimbabwean to be repatriated on Sunday from South Africa.
He said as the man was said to have died last Friday, there was no way the body could have been repatriated on Sunday as the whole process could only be done during weekdays. He said repatriating a body involves a lot of processes that cannot take less than three weekdays.
Mr Mukonoweshuro said after the alleged death last Friday, there was no way the so-called family would have managed to clear the body in a day. He said he only heard about the alleged resurrection miracle on news and social media.
“When someone dies in South Africa, the funeral parlour handling the body needs a death certificate from the department of Home Affairs in South Africa, an embalmment certificate and a post mortem report from the doctor who attended the deceased person,” said Mr Mukonoweshuro.
“All these requirements are processed during weekdays and since this man is said to have died this past Friday, I wonder how they managed to get all that documentation in a space of hours that is if he died at all.”
Mr Mukonoweshuro said members of the public should note that all South Africa government offices and his office only operate from Monday to Friday and not on weekends.
“We need to know the time this person died so that we establish how they managed to get through the process for them to claim that the body was being repatriated to Zimbabwe. Did he die in the afternoon or in the evening and where did they get all those papers needed for a body to be cleared for repatriation?” he asked.
“For them to come to the consulate to get a repatriation letter, they first have to deal with the South African Government for the requirements I just listed. After they get a letter from us, they go back to the South African Ministry of Health for the export permit and this is a department that also does not operate on weekends.”
He said the order of events was questionable and he doubts the “resurrected” man is even Zimbabwean.
“The tone and accent of the person who was quoted as the brother to the deceased clearly reveals that he is not Zimbabwean. It’s not even Shona, Ndebele or even Zulu as we know these to be our home languages,” said Mr Mukonoweshuro.
“Even if you consult Queens and Kings they would tell you they were hired to pick a body from a home to church and no one knows who was supposed to take it to its final resting place in Zimbabwe. After looking at all these angles you can easily conclude that this person is not Zimbabwean and never died.”
He said if one does not have papers as they are claiming in the circulating videos, there is still a repatriation procedure that they were supposed to follow.
“This process involves the Zimbabwean registrar general’s office and relatives of the deceased, chiefs and village heads. That process as well takes time and there is no way they were ready to leave the country on Sunday,” he added.
Kings and Queens Funeral Services has distanced itself from the resurrection claims.
“As Kings and Queens Funeral Services, we would like to distance ourselves from the supposed resurrection of a deceased man by Hallelujah Ministries who allegedly was at our mortuary,” said the parlour in a statement.
“We were approached by alleged family members of the deceased who informed us they had encountered a dispute with a different funeral service provider and would like to use our transport services which we offered them.”
According to media reports in South Africa, after the controversial pastor was reported to the police and threatened with a civil suit by Kings and Queens Funeral parlour Mr Lukau is now trying to wriggle his way out of his stunt.
He now claims the man was actually alive when his body arrived at the church in Kramerville in Sandton.
The ministry claimed Mr Lukau only “completed a miracle” that God had already started, according to The Sowetan.