Three Johannesburg funeral parlours on Monday said they were victims of “misrepresentations” by people associated with the controversial self-styled prophet, Alph Lukau, leading to his sensational claim on Sunday that he had raised a man from the dead.
Kings and Queens, Kingdom Blue and Black Phoenix said they were approached individually by people thought to be representatives of Lukau as they weaved an elaborate make-believe plot.
Police have been asked to investigate.
“The three funeral parlours wish to vehemently distance themselves from events that took place at Halleluya Ministries,” the three funeral companies’ lawyer Advocate Prince Mafu said at a news conference.
“The three funeral parlours were used individually and separately through various forms of misrepresentations to suit a particular outcome which at the time was unknown to the funeral parlours.”
People believed to be Lukau’s runners approached Kingdom Blue and bought the coffin, which they said was for someone who had died, the lawyer said.
“They (Lukau’s people) used stickers of Black Phoenix to brand their private vehicle and used such a car to misrepresent it to Kings and Queens for the purposes of acquiring transport to ferry the body to rural areas,” Mafu said.
“It is with regret that such a plot or scheme has adversely affected our reputations. We remain professional and legitimate in our operations.”
At no time, he said, did any one of the three funeral parlours have a body of the “dead” man in their mortuaries.
“They were not aware at the time that there was a plot or scheme that was going to happen soon thereafter,” Mafu said.
Mafu said a report had been filed at Jeppe Police Station at 2PM on Monday, and investigators would decide if there had been any criminality.
A Kings and Queens hearse was used to convey the “body” of a man, announced by Lukau as one Elliot, a Zimbabwean, to his church in Sandton.
After touching the man, who was dressed in all white and had his mouth wide open, the “dead man” is seen waking up to sit upright, while appearing to be confused. The man is immediately fed some food while Lukau’s church loudly cheers the “miracle”.
No-one on social media appeared to have been taken in by the event that appeared staged.
Halleluya Ministries declined requests for an interview.Zimlive