Three days have not even passed, yet a church that claimed to have resurrected a man is now backtracking from its "miracle".
As pastor Alph Lukau's "resurrection" video continued to dominate social media conversations yesterday, with many ridiculing his claims, the Alleluia International Ministries said the "dead" man was actually "already alive" when his "body" got to the premises.
The Alleluia International Ministries church in Kramerville, Sandton, now says that Lukau had only "completed a miracle that God had already started".
The climbdown is after the church found itself in hot water with three funeral parlours that were apparently duped into taking part in the act reporting it to the police yesterday.
Advocate Prince Mafu, speaking on behalf of Kings and Queens, Black Phoenix and Kingdom Blue, said the parlours were used through various forms of misrepresentation to suit a particular outcome.
Mafu said people linked to the church approached the parlours individually, buying a coffin from one, stickers from another and hiring a hearse from another one. "It is with regret that the outcome of such a plot has adversely affected our reputation as service providers.
"We have reported the matter at Jeppe police station for further investigation," Mafu said.
Lukau faced a backlash on social media for claiming "a dead man came back to LIFE in this service" on Sunday.
Amid mounting pressure, church leaders hurriedly sought to change their tune on the incident yesterday, saying the man identified as Elliot in the video had arrived alive and kicking inside a coffin at the church gate.
Church minister Busi Gaca and pastor Rochelle Kombou described how the hearse driver ran away in fear after hearing rattling noises coming from inside the coffin upon arriving at the church.
Gaca said church leaders were alerted that a hearse had just arrived at the gate when Lukau decided to go and inspect.
"As soon as they got here they started hearing movement coming from the coffin. And you know [in] our culture, if a person is dead and you start hearing movement people get scared," she said.
Gaca said the man's relatives who had been travelling in a separate car had explained that they were on their way to Zimbabwe for the man's burial when they decided to visit the church.