A group of South African LGBT activists have vowed to approach the Equality Court over claims by controversial pastor Hamilton Nala, that his faith water can heal homosexuality.
The group picketed outside Nala Mandate International in Durban on Sunday.
They called for Nala – who previously claimed his faith water could heal HIV – to stop sending a false message that sexual orientation was a choice and could be “fixed”.
Hlengiwe Buthelezi, chairperson of KZN LGBT Recreation, which promotes inclusion in arts and culture, said homosexuality was not a sickness.
“It’s nature. By saying he can heal us, he is proclaiming he is mightier than God because God created us the way we are.”
But in his sermon broadcast live on Facebook, Nala said if it was true they were created by God, then that was not the God he believed in.
“Whoever wants to take me to court for this can go ahead, as far as I know in South Africa there is a constitution that says I have a right to my opinion.
“Everyone who comes to this place comes because they believe in my opinion and my beliefs.
“It is my belief that God would not create a woman with breasts and a womb just for decoration purposes, so that you can take it out when you want,” he said, seemingly referring to transgender people who have gender reassignment surgery.
Nala said homosexuality had no place in his mandate, but the picketers were welcome, on condition that they accepted that God had anointed him to deliver them from “doing that”.
However, the picketers said they were refused entry on Sunday.
“The Bible says all are welcome in the house of the Lord. If he is claiming to be a Christian pastor, then why won’t he allow us in?” said Sbongiseni Khumalo of the KZN LGBT Centre.
“He thinks he can invent a cure for the way we are born. It’s appalling.
“Imagine the parents who will bring their children here to be healed. I didn’t choose to be gay. What he is doing will perpetuate homophobia,” said Buthelezi.
At the picket, Mthokozisi Mtetwa from Folweni outside uMlazi said while his father had finally accepted him and understood that being gay was not a choice, he could be persuaded to change his thinking.
“This will take us back to when people believed we are gay because we are possessed by demons or that we chose to be gay,” said Mtetwa.
When he came out 11 years ago, his mother had accepted him, but his brother assaulted him and stopped talking to him.
“He (my brother) said I was an embarrassment to the family and he refused to acknowledge me as his brother.
“Now tell me what a person like that will think when they hear there is a cure?” he said.
During his sermon, Nala called on those “suffering” from homosexuality, or parents troubled by their children who are gay or lesbian, to come forward.
“They can bring them to Nala Mandate. I’ve got good news: faith water has delivered people from homosexuality,” he said to a roaring congregation.