US pastor Steven L Anderson has claimed he is being persecuted by South Africans, following a series of pranks against him and his church.

Johannesburg - The now infamous “kill-the-gays” American pastor, Steven L Anderson, has claimed he is being persecuted by South Africans, following a series of pranks against him and his evangelical church.

An online petition addressed to the Department of Home Affairs to keep Anderson from entering South Africa for a recruitment drive in September has received more than 36 000 signatures.

The Arizona-based preacher and Holocaust denier initially achieved online notoriety in 2014 after calling for gay people to be executed.

He again brought negative attention to himself this year when, a day after 49 LGBTI people were gunned down in the Pulse nightclub massacre in Orlando, Florida, he said: “The good news is that there’s 50 less paedophiles in this world, because, you know, these homosexuals are a bunch of disgusting perverts and paedophiles.”

In a video released last week, Anderson posted a clip claiming a series of advertisements had been made on Craigslist, claiming his church was giving away free goods.

The church had also been receiving numerous pizzas they hadn’t ordered, and he had also been inundated with magazine subscriptions and their respective bills.

Labelling the pranksters as “pathetic losers”, Anderson said the opposition only motivated him further, making him “want to fight harder”.

“You guys will be burning in hell. We’re going to be rewarded in heaven for the good works we’re doing,” he said.

In an interview with Radio Today at the weekend, Anderson vowed to continue on his “soulwinning” mission to South Africa, even though the hotel chain he had reserved and the local restaurants he planned to visit had rejected his bookings.

He insisted that his journey to South Africa was not about preaching against homosexuality, despite calling gay people “abominations”, “filthy” and “violent” in interviews.

Claiming he wasn’t “some fringe lunatic”, Anderson said he would find new venues to host him and his 70 to 80 South African followers.

On Sunday, a petition on go.allout.org had reached 36 171 signatures, asking Home Affairs Minister Malusi Gigaba to “prevent Anderson from promoting his hate-mongering in South Africaby denying him entry to thecountry”.

In an interview last week with PowerFM, Home Affairs spokesman Mayihlome Tshwete described Anderson as a “problematic and deplorable person”, and said the minister still intends to meet with LGBTI representatives and the South African Human Rights Commission to discuss the issue.

GaySA Radio station manager Hendrik Baird, who initiated the South African campaign against Anderson, told gay lifestyle website Mambaonline.com he next plans to lobby the airline that is set to fly Anderson into South Africa, asking it not to let him board.

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The Star