A pastor who is serving two life sentences for the rape of minors and is now on trial for several other similar cases shocked the court on Thursday morning when he claimed he possessed amazing healing powers, adding that he could cure a person living with a disability.

Pastor James Thubakgale, 58, leader of the Devine Deliverance Church of Christ in Seshego,  told the  Limpopo High Court that he has cured some of his congregants who were unable to walk on their own.

“I prayed for people using crutches and wheelchairs and they got healed through my anointing prayers. I prayed,  helped and healed my congregants,” he said.

Thubakgale is facing a string of charges including five of rape, 10 of assault GBH and extortion.

Thubakgale said he became a pastor in 2006 after God told him to resign as  a SA National Defence Force (SANDF) member.

“I was attending a church when  God spoke to me and told me to quit the SANDF after 21 years of service and start my own church. I resigned as the word further instructed me to use my garage at home as a praying point,” he said.

He said at the time of his arrest in 2019, he had 37 pastors under his church and branches in Makotopong, Capricorn district, and Burgersfort in Sekhukhune.

Prosecutor Erick Mabapa asked Thubakgale if he was running a cult masquerading as a church, as many people alleged. But the pastor denied  he was running a cult, adding that it was a genuine church.

Thubakgale also blamed jealous people for his troubles with the law.

“Some people were not happy with the church hence they reported me to the police and media that I have buried bodies in the church yard. Police came with sniffing dogs and couldn’t find anything and the story was published in the Sowetan,” he said.

The  pastor appeared alone before Judge Gerrit Muller. His accomplices Sophonia Matsobane Mafa, 50, and Lucky Ramohlale Mafa, 27, also from Seshego, who  are facing charges of extortion and assault respectively, were not in court.

Last year the pastor was convicted of the rape of two girls, aged 14 and 16, in the Mankweng Regional Court and is now serving two life sentences.


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