South Africa - Pretoria - 21 March 2019. Gauteng Premier David makhura talks to artists at the State Theatre. Picture: Oupa Mokoena/African News Agency (ANA)

Port Elizabeth - The Gauteng Provincial Government on Tuesday noted with concern that an old picture of Premier David Makhura taken with Pastor Alph Lukau of Alleluia Ministries has been doing the rounds on social media. 

Makhura said he was invited by the church on August 5, 2018, to celebrate its sixth anniversary. 

“I was invited there as a public representative to be with the congregants. My presence was to share the sermon with them. At the time, I had no reason to question the authenticity of the church,” Makhura said in a statement. 

"There are certain revelations that have emerged and come to the attention of the Commission for the Promotion and Protection of the Rights of Cultural, Religious and Linguistic Communities (CLR) who are currently investigating Pastor Lukau regarding the resurrection incident.” 

The government has established institutions such as the CLR to deal with denominations that are found to be involved in illegal and unholy religious practices, his office said in a statement.

The provincial government said that the premier has been invited to and attended ceremonies of many churches across Gauteng.

It also says that he has also spoken out against religious leaders who, in the name of God, "feed off the vulnerability of people, who face many difficulties in their daily lives".

“We have seen an increase in people drinking petrol, eating rats or snakes whilst others rape congregants or confess to practising witchcraft. Together let us find lasting solutions to these scourges,” Makhura said. 

In addition, the provincial government reiterated that churches must self-regulate to counter harmful religious practices. 

"He has also publicly called out religious leaders who are involved in questionable, illegal or harmful practices," it said.

He said that he would continue to interact with religious leaders and visit churches, mosques and temples.

African News Agency (ANA)