FOR THREE long months, Margareth tried to make peace with her guilty conscience.
But now she has come to the papers to confess how she sold her soul for R500 a week.
I WAS PAID TO LIE TO SICK PEOPLE WHO COME TO CHURCH FOR HEALING, SHE SAID.
Margareth Hlatshwayo (38) from Soshanguve near Mabopane, Pretoria said she is terrified that God will punish her. She said she heard she could get a job at a church in Pretoria Showground and would be paid R500 the same day.
“I didn’t know what kind of job it was,” she said.
When she arrived at the church they told her the lies she had to tell to get the money. “I was told I must act in a holy way and pretend I was healed. I had to testify to living a horrible life before.” Margareth knew what she was doing was wrong but she couldn’t resist.
“I needed the money to feed my three children and I couldn’t turn down the offer so I did what they told me.”
That started Margareth’s life of lying.
“I lied to people and agreed to everything the pastor asked me,” she said.
“I said I was unemployed but I had recently got a job through God’s power after the pastor prayed for me. I have not had a job for the past four years. My only job was telling lies recently at church in Pretoria Showground.”
But then the pastor stopped paying her on time. “I think it’s because the church now has a lot of people lying and giving false testimonials for the prophet and then at the end there isn’t enough money to pay us all.” Says Margareth.
“The pastor kept promising that he was going to pay me. Sometimes he would give me R300 and sometimes nothing at all.” She said some people were lying that they were wheelchair bound before the pastor’s prayers saved them and now they could walk again. Margareth said she only did it to get the money but now her conscience is killing her. “I’m so ashamed.”
Another woman who went to the same church confirmed what Margareth said.
“I was paid for two weeks but when the pastor stopped paying me, I stopped going.” Reporters spoke to one of the church leaders and representative of the church, who called himself a prophet and a follower of Sheperd Bushiri.
He didn’t deny he knew Margareth but he denied paying people to testify.
“If you want to speak to Shepered Bushiri for information you need to make an appointment to come to the office or come to church and witnesses the man of God change lives. I don’t know you and I’m not prepared to talk to you any longer,” he said, and dropped the phone.