Oom Paul Rising

The other day I came across a seemingly innocuous ghost story about a tractor running amok in a small town in South Africa. It was a short article that alluded to rumors about a certain Oom Paul Meintjes who had returned from the dead and was showing his presence by starting tractors and harvesters in the middle of the night. In and of itself, this story isn't worth much writing about, but it was the "Related Articles" links that caught my attention. Apparently there was more to Oom Paul than meets the eye. They took me to other news stories about Oom Paul, and there were more related articles. When I finally reached the beginning of his saga, I had traveled almost four years back in time.

Each story wasn't particularly interesting, but it was always the next headline that kept me hooked. This is the stuff of off-Broadway theater, a comedy akin to The Gods Must Be Crazy, but with an underlying sad, simple message about life and woo. The full account of what follows can be found at News24.

The story takes place in Hertzogville, a small sheep and cattle town in the Free State provinces of South Africa. It is July 1, 2004, a Wednesday.


Oom Paul is Dead

July 1, 2004

Oom Paul Meintjes is dead.


Dad will rise again - family

July 8, 2004

A family dares not bury their father because God made them a promise he would be resurrected.

Now the Meintjies family in this sleepy Freestate hamlet waits for the miracle, even if it means they have to pay R250 a day for his "boarding" in the mortuary and in spite of the community and the rest of the family protesting vehemently against the wake.

Paul Meintjies, 76, a prominent Hertzogville resident, died on Wednesday last week, but his remains still lie in the local mortuary fridge.

His son, Pieter Meintjies, said on Wednesday the promise of their father's resurrection was revealed to the family by a "prophet" of the Action for Christ Ministries, Dawid Francis.

The family has already seen many miracles through this ministry, such as "a female friend who could see again". That is why they believe in the promise.

'We believe in God's promise'

Meintjies jun said it was a difficult time for his mother, Anna, and his two sisters, Petro Josephs of Durban and Daleen Swanepoel of Kimberley.

"We're experiencing tremendous opposition from the community and our family.

"My father was a member of Action for Christ before he passed away and we believe in God's promise. Nobody will make us believe otherwise."

Other family members, who are scattered around South Africa, are upset and refuse to comment.

In the town itself people tend to whisper about the "great resurrection" and then shake their heads.

Many believe the Meintjies family has lost touch with reality somewhere along the way.

Francis, the prophet, said he got to know the Meintjies family many years ago.

"God told me Meintjies should not be buried after his death. I already knew that something big was waiting on us on that day.

"However, I did not know it would be his departure.

Needn't have a continuous wake

"I merely bring God's message. I believe that Meintjies will be resurrected to allow God to be glorified.

"His resurrection will take place long after his death so that people will not be able to say that he did not die. But it will be soon."

"It is not necessary to have a continuous wake at his side. God will tell me when the time is nigh and then I will be there," said Francis.

"His next of kin must make the decision themselves not to bury him. I was only a courier, bringing God's message.

"They took the step themselves to abide in their belief."


Dominee, 'prophet' in showdown

July 8, 2004

The "prophet" and the dominee are the talk of the town - not because of the predicted "resurrection" of Paul Meintjies, but about apparent interferance with the dominee's congregation.

If Dominee Johan van der Westhuizen does not keep to his reported threat to wallop self-called prophet David Francis, there are more than enough others in town willing to do it.

Earlier this week, Francis prophesied that Meintjies would be resurrected, and his immediate family have been keeping him in the local mortuary at a cost of R250 a day, just in case, instead of going ahead with his burial.

The consternation this has caused in this Free State hamlet has now grown a second tail.

The new twist apparently came about when Van der Westhuizen discovered a member of the Action for Christ Ministries had offered to lay hands on the father of a woman in town and "pray him back to health".

Reacted with 'message from God'

It is claimed Van der Westhuizen promised, in no uncertain terms, he would come to blows with Francis if the "prophet" did not leave members of the Dutch Reformed Church congregation alone. The message was passed on to Francis.

Francis reacted with a written "message from God".

Among other things, the church was admonished to do introspection and Van der Westhuizen was warned that he would not be the incumbent of his pulpit for much longer.

His removal from the pulpit "will be under very tragic circumstances".

In the letter Francis said he ventured nowhere without God telling him to do so and he spoke no word unless God ordered him to do so.

The letter from Francis ended: "There is only one computer that can be used to ascertain whether this message comes from God and that is the computer of time. But, we will not have to wait for long."

Meanwhile, members of the Meintjies household have expressed their dismay at the predicted resurrection.

Call for a post-mortem

Beeld was told the family was disconcerted because it was understood that Meintjies senior's diabetic medication was apparently discontinued shortly before his death.

One of the family phoned a local newspaper on Thursday and said that a post-mortem should be ordered.

Van der Westhuizen had a brief response to a News24 call: "I want to keep a low profile and prefer not to react. It is senseless to expend energy on something of this kind."

Francis refuses to allow that a photograph be taken of him. He says his refusal is in accordance with a command from God.


Prophet sets 'resurrection day'


It's still to be decided whether July 29 is the day Paul Meintjies will rise from the dead - but that's the day his family and friends are pinning their hopes on.

Meanwhile, the family they have been paying R250 a day for his "boarding" in the mortuary.

Exactly why July 29 has been chosen for the "resurrection" is unclear.

Neither Meintjies' family, nor self-proclaimed prophet David Francis, who delivered the message about the "resurrection", want to tie themselves down to an exact date.

The family says, however, that this is the date they were given - the day when Mrs Meintjies is to visit her husband in the mortuary and rub his hand so that he can rise from the dead.

Meintjies' son, Pieter, said God worked in his own time and they were just waiting.

'God's message is to repent'

Francis, of Action for Christ Ministries, said it wouldn't take long before people twisted the story and starting saying that Meintjies had not been dead at all.

Francis said the prophesised rising from the dead would be God's message to the church, as well as to the Afrikaners and the blacks to repent.

"I am simply a messenger of God - a servant. It is not about me or Action for Christ. Myself and members of Action for Christ Ministries are insignificant."

Francis said that after giving his heart to God 30 years ago, and after starting the church in Johannesburg about 18 years ago, he had lived through scores of miracles.

Between 500 and 600 people were healed every time he visited a black township, he claimed.

"I don't lay hands on them. They just come in faith to a church where God is present and they are healed.

"This is the last message that God will give to the people and churches. The Afrikaners broke a vow made at Blood River. Black people must choose between God and their culture."

Francis said he was in the house of Petro Josephs, Meintjies' daughter, in October 2001 when God said to him he must take his message to small towns in the Free State.

Got a message about a big event

Francis said Meintjies later asked him if God could heal one of his legs, which was shorter than the other.

"I said yes, and when he came and sat on a chair I told him there was nothing wrong with his leg. He sat down on the chair in faith and was healed."

"Five weeks ago, I was alone in my kitchen when I got a message from God about a big event on a specific day.

"Little did I know it was the day on which Meintjies had died.

"I also got a message from God that Meintjies must not be buried if he died. It was not news to me when his daughter phoned to tell me of his death."

"I told the family that God's message was that he shouldn't be buried, that he would rise. They decided to stick by their beliefs."

Francis said he realised this message and the family's decision would cause a reaction, but he said it was God's plan.


'Resurrection' date in doubt

July 21, 2004

It seems as if Paul Meintjies' predicted "resurrection" from the dead has been postponed.

Speculation in this Free State town had been that the late Meintjies would arise from the dead on July 29.

Then, it seemed the momentous occasion would take place on August 5.

However, an upset David Frances, founder of Action for Christ Ministries, who predicted the "resurrection", said from Durban on Wednesday he had no clue where these dates had come from.

He said: "The Lord can inform me tomorrow at 02:00 that now is the right time, and then I'll drive to Hertzogville. It may be many more days still. We don't know when the Lord's command will come."

He says people are "putting a spoke in the wheel".

After Meintjies' death on July 1, Frances told Anna Meintjes and two of her children, Pieter and Petro Josephs, that God's message to him was that Meintjies must not be buried because he would rise from the dead.

R250 a day to keep father in mortuary

The family members belong to Frances's parish, and the choice of whether they wanted to take God's word to heart or not was left up to them.

They decided to keep Meintjies in the local mortuary, for which they pay R250 a day.

Hertzogville residents and family earlier said the date of July 29 was given to them as when the "resurrection" would take place.

Then, this week, the date was changed to August 5.

Pieter Meintjies told Volksblad on Wednesday they had been strong in their belief from the beginning that the Lord had His own time, and they would wait.

"David told us after my father's death he would be coming to Hertzogville on July 29, and we asked the funeral director to keep the body till then.

Permit to keep body has expired

"This was a preliminary date. People accepted it as the day my father would rise from the dead.

"This week, the mortician said he had to extend the permit to keep my father's body for such a long time as it expired on July 29.

"We asked him to extend the permit by a week, so that it expired on August 5. This doesn't mean my father will rise on this date.

"A big surprise awaits those who are planning to gather here on July 29, as well as for those planning on August 5. My father might awake tomorrow."


All eyes on Oom Paul, mortuary

July 28, 2004

All eyes will be on the mortuary here from Thursday after a Durban "prophet" predicted this would be when the late Paul Meintjies would rise from the dead.

The date he originally gave for this "miraculous" event was July 29 - but, he also said Meintjies could arise anytime between Thursday and August 5.

However, July 29 has stuck in people's minds in this Free State town.

Nico Foulds, owner of the town's mortuary, said he expected a busy day.

"There is a lot of interest. Many people want to come and look," he said.

"Prophet" David Francis told the Meintjies' family "on the orders of God" not to bury their dead relative. Francis is expected to visit the mortuary on Thursday.

But, he said: "I never said he would rise on July 29 or any specific day, but that I would arrive today (Thursday) for his rising.

Will wait quietly at home

"God will send a message when he rises (from the dead). Only God can do that. He will do it."

Meintjies' widow, Anna, agrees that Thursday is not the day. But she does believe her husband will rise from the dead in the next seven days - before next Thursday.

While people are expected "to waste their time here" on Thursday, Anna, son Pieter and daughter Petro Joseph, will quietly wait at home "for God".

"Prophet" Francis will join them and together they will wait for the great day.

"We are not worried about what is going on outside. We have complete faith."

Jokes and teasing are wearing her down

But, on the other side of town, Meintjies' sister, Hettie Vorster, said she is fed up with the whole saga.

The jokes and teasing are wearing her down. Her brother was an honourable man and does not deserve this, she said.

Francis's initial story was that her brother would rise from the dead on July 29. Now, Francis is backtracking on what he said, claims Vorster.

Meintjies died on July 1. On August 5, his body will still be there - "What then?" she asked.


Table was set, but no one arose

July 30, 2004

The table is set, cookies have been baked, the "prophet" has arrived and everybody in this dusty Free State town is ready for the late Paul Meintjies to rise from the dead.

But, July 29 came and went without him coming alive.

"Prophet" David Frances arrived on Thursday night from Durban. On Friday, he refused to be interviewed by the media and, instead, spent the day with the Meintjies family.

Petro Josephs, Meintjies' daughter, said they believed firmly in the prophecy that her father would rise from the dead within the next few days - "We don't have a specific date, but God will let us know."

Trudie, a friend of Anna Meintjies, owns a coffee shop opposite the Meintjies' home.

"Auntie Anna is very sweet and loving, but her belief is not our belief," she said.

Trudie said Anna nursed her husband day and night for months before he died. "She loved the old man dearly and can't wait for him to come alive," she said.

Felt extremely uncomfortable

She said Anna had done everything the "prophet" had told her to do.

"Saturday is their Sabbath and they don't buy anything on that day. They also walk barefoot only."

Trudie met the "prophet" once - "He didn't say anything."

She said she had felt extremely uncomfortable in his presence as it felt as if he was looking through her.

She said that Anna did not talk about "if" her husband rose from the dead, but rather "when".

Trudie said there was no sign of the 600 people alleged to have been healed by the "prophet" in the local township.

"We have all heard the stories, but not one of those 'healed' can come forward," she said.

She said the "prophet" hadn't been to Hertzogville since Paul Meintjies had died.

She also said that the issue had affected everybody in the town.

"We all pray that the whole thing will blow over, but it has brought a new depth to my own beliefs," she said


Oom Paul out in the cold

August 1, 2004

Paul Meintjies was apparently raised from the dead in the mortuary here just before dusk on Saturday.

But he won't be wearing the sweater his wife knitted for him to keep him warm after a month's cold in the mortuary, and he won't be joining his family and the "prophet" who predicted his resurrection for a festive meal.

Shortly after he rose from the death, he "froze to death again" because the funeral director wasn't there to unlock the mortuary's heavy doors, says Duke Potgieter, the man who specially came from Cape Town to give Meintjies a new lease on life.

According to Potgieter, Meintjies' "second death" is to be blamed on the funeral director, Nico Foulds.

Potgieter, who is the leader of the Kingdom Body, also calls himself "The Son of Man".

According to his website, The Kingdom Body is "an informal group of resurrected individuals separated from those who reject the truth".

The website also claims that the judgement period kicked off on May 17 this year, and "the end is nigh".

In a secret chamber on the website, Potgieter describes himself, under the heading "The revelation of the Son of Man", as follows: "The two anointed ones are the witnesses - the Redeemer (Jesus) and the Leader (Duke).

"The Redeemer is the written word and the Leader is the spoken word. The Redeemer and Leader are one, the Religious Witness."

Furthermore he describes how his own birth and those of his three children was predicted in Bible scripts and how his life changed into a "dream".


'Oom Paul' given a deadline

August 2, 2004

Whether the late Paul Meintjies rises from the dead or not is anyone's guess, but either way, his days are numbered at the town's mortuary.

Dead - or alive - he has until Thursday to vacate his fridge.

Mortuary owner Nico Foulds said on Monday that he, along with many other people, was now tired of the saga.

Meintjies died in early July. Soon after his death, a Durban "prophet" David Francis predicted the man would rise from the dead - on or around July 29.

But the day has come and gone and Meintjies is still in the town's mortuary.

Foulds, meanwhile, visited Meintjies' widow, Anna, her children, Pieter and Petro Joseph, and Francis on Monday and told them they had until Thursday to sort out something with Meintjies' body.

"I will not let him stay longer than the fifth day," he said.

Asked for the account to be paid

The Meintjies' family and the "prophet" accepted this. By Thursday, he will have risen from the dead, they believe.

Foulds said he also asked for the Meintjies' account to be settled. The old man's body has been kept in a refrigerator since July 1, at a cost of R250 a day. The account is already sitting at about R8 000.

Meanwhile, another "prophet" arrived in this small Free State town at the weekend.

He told residents Meintjies had manifested himself to him and said he did not want to be bothered. He said Meintjies did not want to rise from the dead - he just wanted to be left in peace.

But Meintjies's widow, her children, and the "prophet" Francis are not convinced. They believe he will come alive and emerge from the refrigerator in the next few days.


Oom Paul: Family 'losing it'

August 4, 2004

The Durbanite who calls himself a prophet and who "predicted" Oom Paul Meintjies' resurrection tore the Meintjies family apart, disturbed the peace and brought turmoil to a lot of people's lives, say the dead man's best friend and his sister.

Henry Roux and Oom Paul's sister, Hettie Vorster, are upset with "prophet" David Francis and with Meintjies's widow, Anna, and her children, Pieter and Petro Joseph, who are waiting in isolation in the Meintjies' house for Oom Paul to rise from the dead.

Speaking from her house in the Free State town, Vorster says that ever since Francis walked into their lives about two years ago there have been problems.

"It has now become so bad that I cannot go on. They are breaking this old woman (the widow)."

Referring to Francis and her nephew praying next to her brother's body in the mortuary on Sunday, she said: "I wanted to kill them.

Dominee 'prevented bloodshed'

"If it wasn't for the dominee who kept me calm here, I would have had blood on my hands.

"If I had a key to the mortuary, I would have locked them there for the night.

"I don't know what they're thinking and how long they still want to wait. They've lost their minds. The four of them stand alone.

"Her (Mrs Meintjies) brothers, sisters and oldest daughter, Dalene, also don't want to have anything to do with them after this. I am helpless and angry. I can do nothing."

Vorster says her sister-in-law and two children are being ruled by Francis.

"Francis says what they may and may not do. Before they can do anything, they have to listen to his orders. If he says jump, they ask how high.

"The times when I confronted my brother about this, his blue eyes became watery with tears. He was too good and too soft."

She is also still upset about a letter Francis wrote to her last August - shortly after her husband, Willy, died.

"God sent him a message. I was to go on a bus trip in the winelands and I would meet my next husband. According to the letter, I would also meet God for the first time in my life."

She was also told she would not go to heaven unless she had herself baptised as an adult.

There were harsh words between her and the Meintjies family even before the resurrection drama, and Francis was the cause, she said.

"I just wish they would bury my brother."

Roux agrees. All he wants for Oom Paul is a respectable funeral. That's why he decided to speak to Francis and Oom Paul's family in no uncertain terms this week.

'They have a lot to think about'

"Oom Paul was like a second father to me. God is a god of love, but we're dealing with a Satan here and not with love."

Roux doesn't have time for Francis. "He told me last year that if I didn't sort out my business with the Lord, I had only three weeks left. Here I am, still.

"He claims to have healed Oom Paul's short leg. But, he still limped.

"Tannie Anna was very sad at one stage when I went over to talk to them. They have a lot to think about."


Oom Paul's got to go

August 5, 2004

The family of Paul Meintjes of Hertzogville, whose resurrection was predicted by a "prophet" after his death about five weeks ago, has not yet made arrangements to remove the body from the town's mortuary, mortician Nico Foulds said on Thursday.

Foulds said he gave the family until the end of Thursday to remove the remains and pay the bill of R9 000.

Meintjies's body had been kept frozen in the town's mortuary since July 1 after a family prophet had predicted that he would rise from the death.

The family has been waiting ever since, but nothing has happened.

It is not clear what the Meintjes family is planning to do now.


Oom Paul's final countdown

August 5, 2004

The family of Paul Meintjies of Hertzogville, whose resurrection was predicted by a "prophet" after his death some five weeks ago, will inform the town's mortician on Friday what to do with the body.

"The family contacted me and made an appointment for Friday morning," free State mortician Nico Foulds said on Thursday.

Foulds said earlier he had given the family until the end of Thursday to remove the remains and pay the bill of R9 000.

Meintjies' body has been kept frozen in the town's mortuary since July 1 after a family prophet predicted that he would rise from the dead.

The family has been waiting ever since.


Family fights over Oom Paul

August 10, 2004

Forty-two days after Paul Meintjies' death the promised resurrection has failed to materialise but one thing that could transpire is a court order to remove his body.

While his doting family and a Durban "prophet" patiently wait for their "miracle", other members of Meintjies' family have held talks about the saga and are determined to retrieve his body from the mortuary and either bury or cremate him.

They are even considering seeking a court order to achieve this.

Family discussions were held over the weekend and the issue of a court order was discussed, said Meintjies' family and friends.

He must now be buried or cremated, they say.

But it's a different story in the Meintjies' house where his widow, Anna, her children, Pieter and Petro Joseph, and the Durban "prophet" David Francis patiently await Meintjies' resurrection.

Anna Meintjies says she has heard talk of a court order. However, she doesn't think it will be necessary, as she's convinced her beloved husband will rise from the dead.

"That's why I can't bury him," she said.

Joseph also refused to be drawn on the family discussion.

She said they were still waiting for her father's resurrection.

She said God had passed on the message of the resurrection through Francis.


Oom Paul taken for a spin

August 16, 2004

Armed with sjamboks and whips - and the body of Paul Meintjies in a coffin - farmers and town's residents descended on the Meintjies' house on Monday to end the fiasco surrounding his long-awaited "resurrection".

For 46 days, Oom Paul's body has been in the town mortuary awaiting his resurrection, as "foretold" by Durban "prophet" David Francis.

However, on Monday, when the crowd and coffin arrived at the Meintjies house, the only message to come out was that the immediate family would speak to mortuary-owner Nico Foulds on Tuesday.

In the house were Francis and Oom Paul's widow, son and daughter, who are convinced the old man will "rise from the dead".

Hertzogville residents want the controversial ''prophet'' to leave town so that they can bury old man Meintjies.

Counter-threat from 'prophet'

Monday's show of anger came in the wake of threats by other members of Oom Paul's family at the weekend that they would fetch his body and bury it.

But this sparked a counter-threat by Francis who told Foulds that anyone who removed the body would drop dead.

Hertzogville residents and Foulds were furious.

On Monday, Foulds and two residents put Meintjes' body in a coffin and drove it to the house where his wife, son and daughter were closeted with Francis.

Contrary to Francis' prediction, no one involved in the action died.

At the Meintjies' house, hooters were blown and stones thrown on the roof to get Francis to leave the house.

Several farmers, armed with sjamboks and whips, said ''the false prophet'' would be driven naked out of town.

Foulds wanted to hand over Oom Paul's body to the ''prophet'', Oom Paul's wife and her children. He is fed up with the whole matter.

However, no one ventured out of the house. The ''prophet'' and his three followers stayed behind locked doors.

Foulds eventually returned to the mortuary with the body.

'Town can't be ridiculed any longer'

He said: "I proved what I wanted to prove. No one dropped down dead.

"No one is going to rise from the dead. The prophet is no prophet."

A well-known farmer in the district, Dirk Coetzee sen, said outside the house: "We are all really tired of the whole thing. We now want the man (Francis) out of our town.

"If he would only come out. But he is hiding. Hertzogville's name cannot be ridiculed any longer.

Oom Paul's sister, Hettie Vorster, was also there. Back at the mortuary, she stroked the feet of her dead brother.

She said: "He must now just be cremated or buried."


Oom Paul to be spirited away

August 17, 2004

The body of a Free State man whose resurrection was predicted by a "prophet" six weeks ago is on its way to a state mortuary if a local undertaker gets his way.

Nico Foulds, the undertaker, said on Tuesday he met the family of Paul Meintjies of Hertzogville after a protest on Monday by some disgruntled family members and residents in front the Meintjies home.

"I asked them to remove the body to a state mortuary by noon on Wednesday if they want to go on with this," said Foulds.

He met the family and the "prophet" on Tuesday.

"They still think he ("Oom Paul") will rise from the dead. I feel sorry for them," Foulds said.

Foulds did not know where the nearest state mortuary was, but he thought Hoopstad had one.

Meintjies's body has been kept frozen at Foulds' premises since July 1 after a "prophet" foretold that he would rise from the dead.

The family has been waiting ever since, but no resurrection has taken place.

Foulds said the protest on Monday was to point out to the family that their "prophet" was a liar.

"Nothing has come from all the predictions so far, but the family still believes him," said Foulds.


Mortuary gives Oom Paul back

August 18, 2004

The body of Paul Meintjies, whose resurrection was predicted by a "prophet" about six weeks ago, is back with his family, said undertaker Nico Foulds on Wednesday.

He delivered the body to the family at their home in Hertzogville in the Free State.

On Tuesday, Foulds met the family after a protest by some disgruntled relatives and town residents in front of the Meintjies home.

He asked the family to remove the body to a state mortuary by noon on Wednesday if they still wanted to wait for his resurrection.

"They still think he (Meintjies) will rise from the dead. I feel sorry for them," Foulds said.

Meintjies' body has been kept frozen in the mortuary since July 1 after the "prophet" predicted he would rise from the dead.

The family has been waiting ever since, but no resurrection has taken place.


Oom Paul now home - in coffin

August 18, 2004

Oom Paul Meintjies is at home now, after lying in the mortuary for 50 days.

He has not risen from the dead yet, but is in a coffin next to the bed of his widow, Tannie Anna.

Tannie Anna and her two children, Pieter and Petro Joseph, and Durban "prophet" David Francis, who predicted that Oom Paul would be resurrected, asked on Wednesday that Oom Paul's body be dropped at their home.

Undertaker Nico Foulds told the Meintjies family they must take the body or Oom Paul would go to the state mortuary.

Amid great interest, Oom Paul was delivered to the Meintjies family's home in a borrowed coffin on Wednesday.

Police were on the scene, and Tannie Anna asked them to arrest anyone who came on to their property for trespassing.

Pieter Meintjies and his sister used blankets so no curious eyes could see what happened to the coffin.

Sister was asked to leave

Foulds said he helped put the coffin next to a bed in the bedroom.

Oom Paul's sister, Hettie Vorster, was most upset and stormed into the Meintjies home.

Captain Jaco Breedt took her off the premises after Pieter Meintjies had asked her to leave.

Vorster left, shaking her head.

"Now they have what they want. Cowards. Paul is no longer there; just his bones remain."

Unhappy residents who were "tired of this nonsense" also gathered outside the house.

One, Koos Visser, said they were ready for this "prophet".

He and other residents had threatened earlier they would whip the "prophet" out of town.

Despite calls for the "prophet" to emerge, there was no sign of Francis.

In a subdued voice, Pieter Meintjies said the "prophet" would speak "when God says it's OK to do so".

Three prayed for Oom Paul

No one knows what the Meintjies family will be doing with Oom Paul's body.

Some speculate they will be keeping him in a fridge, and others are wondering whether they're not planning to take him to Durban, where Francis lives.

Foulds is relieved to be rid of the body.

He said earlier that whatever the Meintjies family intended doing with the body was their business.

Three women from Pretoria came to pray for Oom Paul in front of the mortuary early on Wednesday morning.

They told Foulds they didn't believe Oom Paul would rise again, but it would be "a spiritual awakening".


50-day-old body a 'health risk'

August 19, 2004

The body of Paul Meintjies, dead for 50 days, may pose a health threat, SABC reported on Thursday.

The undertaker, Nico Foulds, refused to keep the body in his mortuary any longer, on Wednesday delivered in a borrowed coffin to the house of Meintjies's widow.

Tefo Kamolana, a health inspector at Boshoff in the Free State is to visit the nearby town of Hertzogville on Friday to determine if the body holds a health risk.

He said he would talk to the town manager on Thursday to arrange a visit to the house of the Meintjies's widow, where the body is now being kept in a borrowed coffin in the widow's bedroom.

Foulds said he supplied gloves to the family should they want to handle the corpse.


Health on to Oom Paul's case

August 19, 2004

Health department inspectors were deciding whether the body of Oom Paul Meintjies posed a health risk, said Free State police on Thursday.

Three members of his family have been waiting for him to rise from the dead after a Durban "prophet" predicted this would happen.

Inspector Lorraine Kalp said the Meintjies family of Hertzogville had got a removal certificate from undertaker Nico Foulds, authorising them to take the body home.

Once they had the certificate, they were free to do with the body what they wanted, Kalp said. She added that no police investigation into the matter was underway.

Oom Paul has been dead for 50 days.

On Wednesday, Foulds took the corpse from the mortuary and delivered it to Meintjies' widow.

Foulds said he supplied gloves to the family if they wanted to handle the corpse.

Meintjes' body was in a coffin next to his widow's bed.


'Bury Oom Paul, or else ...'

August 19, 2004

The late Paul Meintjes, whom a prophet had predicted would rise from the dead, must be buried by Saturday, according to an order delivered by police to his family in Hertzogville on Thursday.

On Wednesday his widow took delivery of Meintjes' 50-day-old corpse and has since kept it in a coffin beside her bed.

Free State police spokesperson Sam Makhele said the family had 36 hours to respond to the order, failing which the police mortuary would apply for an order to bury the body.

Thursday evening's order - delivered at 17:30 - follows a decision by investigators from the department of health who fear that the body poses a health threat.


Oom Paul: 'Enough is enough'

August 19, 2004

The government has now intervened to get the body of Oom Paul Meintjes, who has been dead for 51 days, into a grave. His body, in a coffin, is next to his widow's bed.

If his family doesn't bury him by Saturday morning, he will receive a compulsory state funeral.

After the intervention of the Free State health department, police on Thursday night issued an order on Oom Paul's family.

His widow, Anna, and her children, Pieter and Petro Joseph, have been waiting for weeks with Durban "prophet" David Francis for Oom Paul's resurrection.

After the old man's death on July 1, "prophet" Francis foretold that he would rise again.

Until a few days ago, Oom Paul was being put up in the local mortuary at a cost of R250 a day.

Now, the family has been given 36 hours in terms of the health act to bury him. If they refuse, the state will confiscate the body and bury it.

Officials from the health department in Welkom visited the Meintjes house on Thursday.

Too warm in the house for the body

A neighbour had complained about Oom Paul's deomposing body that had been lying in a coffin in the house since Wednesday.

The officials found the stipulations of the health act were not being met.

Oom Paul's body could not be kept in this way in the house. It was much too warm.

After a long meeting between the officials and the town's police, the order to bury Oom Paul was dropped off on Thursday evening by captain Roelof Coertze, the town's chief detective, and captain Jaco Breedt, the town's police chief.

Anna Meintjes and her daughter received it "in a friendly fashion and in good spirit".

"Prophet" Francis, who had predicted the resurrection and refused to allow Oom Paul to be buried, was nowhere to be seen.

Captain Sam Makhele of Free State police said the order was delivered to the family in terms of article 48 of the health act.

A body may not be held in any place or circumstances that may pose a health risk or be a burden in the opinion of the state or a medical official.

If a body was unclaimed or no capable person undertook to bury it, a magistrate, judge, medical pratictioner or police officer could order it to be removed.

"If Meintjes' body is not buried within 36 hours, it will be taken to the state mortuary.

"A court will then be asked if the body can be buried by the state."

Sister pleased it's almost over

Oom Paul's other daughter, Dalene Swanepoel of Kimberley, who is not part of the resurrection saga, said: "I am grateful things are drawing to a close.

"They must bury my father and be done with it. I will be there afterwards for my mom, brother and sister."

Oom Paul's sister, Hettie Vorster, who never wants to see her brother's widow and those two children again, said: "I'm glad someone finally intervened. It is right. My brother must be buried now."

At the Meintjes home, where Oom Paul's body is lying, the windows are open and face masks against the smell of a decomposing body were delivered on Thursday.


Oom Paul making 'final journey'

August 20, 2004

Oom Paul Meintjes will be on his way to Bloemfontein within hours.

Police were due to remove his body, which was in a coffin next to his widow's bed, early on Saturday morning.

This is the latest in the Hertzogville "resurrection saga" which started with Oom Paul's death 52 days ago on July 1.

His widow, Anna, and her children, son Pieter and daughter Petro Joseph, were told by Durban "prophet" David Francis that Oom Paul would rise from the dead, initially on July 29.

Accordingly, they kept him "on ice" in the local mortuary - at R250 a day - in preparation for the event.

July 29 came and went, and Oom Paul's resurrection date was shifted forward, according to the "prophet".

Meanwhile, emotions and tempers in the town started to rise, especially with other members of Oom Paul's family.

Delivered the body to the house

There were stormy scenes outside the Meintjes' house and police were called to prevent violence.

Undertaker Nico Foulds then refused to keep Oom Paul any longer as a permit to keep a body for that long had expired.

Foulds, who delivered the body to the Meintjes' home on Wednesday, said the family owed him R13 000.

They also have to pay for the coffin that was lent to them as he does not want them to return it.

He helped them put the coffin in a bedroom, next to Tant Anna's bed.

Tant Anna and the children were given 36 hours in terms of the Health Act to bury Oom Paul's body.

On Friday, they asked for an extension, but it was not granted. The plan was to remove the body at 06:00 on Saturday.

Oom Paul will be kept in the government mortuary in Bloemfontein.

His body will be released to his family only on display of proof that it is to be buried.

If not, a court will be approached to order a government interment.

The department of health said on Thursday it had intervened after a complaint by a neighbour.

The department's Tankiso Zola said it was a health risk and flouting the Health Act to keep a dead body among people in a residence.

Foulds said: "All the windows of the house are open and in the street one can smell the gases emitted by the decomposing body.

Still believe he will rise from dead

"All of them are going to become seriously ill as those gases are poisonous."

Pieter Meintjes told Volksblad on Friday the "prophet" was "in seclusion" and not talking to anybody.

He said it was going well with all of them and they still believed their father would rise from the dead.

Hertzogville residents said on Friday they hoped the saga was approaching its conclusion now.

"All of us hope there will be a funeral soon," said one man.


Oom Paul in state mortuary

August 21, 2004

The body of deceased Paul Meintjes of Hertzogville was removed from the family's residence on Saturday morning, Free State police said.

Spokesperson Captain Sam Makhele said police removed the body at 06:00.

"It was taken to the state mortuary in Bloemfontein," Makhele said.

He said no decision had been made about a burial yet.

"Maybe the family would let us know about possible arrangements on Monday," said Makhele.

Meintjes resurrection was predicted by a "prophet" after his death about seven weeks ago.

The family has been waiting ever since but no resurrection has so far occurred.


Cops want to bury Oom Paul

August 23, 2004

Police are likely to approach the Bloemfontein magistrate's court on Tuesday for an order to bury Paul Meintjes, whose family was told by a "prophet" that he would rise from the dead.

By Monday evening, the family had not met their deadline to contact the police with funeral arrangements, said Free State police spokesperson Sam Makhele.

Police took the corpse away from them on Saturday amid concerns that it posed a health hazard.

Meintjes' widow had been keeping it beside her bed in her home in Hertzogville.

Makhele said a state funeral would take place should the order be granted.


Oom Paul: It's time to go

August 24, 2004

The State will apply for a burial order for Paul Meintjes on Tuesday after his close family failed to bury him on Monday.

The body had been lying in a mortuary for 50 days and another three days in the widow's home after he was not buried in the hope that he may arise from the dead, as predicted by Durban "prophet" David Francis.

His widow Anna and children Pieter and Petro were ordered to bury him or have him cremated within 36 hours after health officials found that the 55-day-old body was a health threat on Thursday.

When the body was still in a borrowed coffin in the widow's bedroom on Saturday morning, police confiscated it and took it to the State mortuary in Bloemfontein. The body was delivered to the widow's Hertzogville house after undertaker Nico Foulds refused to keep the decaying body in his mortuary any longer.

But Meintjes's family failed to arrange for a cremation or funeral, and by Monday night the body was still in the mortuary, said Captain Sam Makhele.

Police will on Tuesday apply for a burial order from the court.

Meintjes's other daughter, Dalene Swanepoel of Kimberley and his sister Hettie Vorster, of Hertzogville, will hold a memorial service for him on Tuesday.


State will bury Oom Paul

August 24, 2004

A magistrate granted permission on Tuesday for police to bury the body of the late Paul Meintjes of Hertzogville, whose family was told by a "prophet" that he would rise from the dead.

Free State police spokesperson Sam Makhele said: "We now have 24 hours to do the burial."

Police took the corpse away from Meintjes' family on Saturday amid concerns that it posed a health hazard.

The remains were returned to the family earlier last week after being kept at a funeral home since July 1.

Meintjes' widow then kept it beside her bed in her home in Hertzogville.

Meintjes died about eight weeks ago. His family have hoped fervently for his resurrection.

Makhele said Meintjes would probably be buried at Hertzogville by the state.

"We busy negotiating with the local authority for a suitable time and place within the time frame given," said Makhele.

Police applied for the order to bury Meintjes on Tuesday after the family had not met their deadline to contact police with funeral arrangements on Monday.


State funeral for Oom Paul

August 24, 2004

The battle to get Oom Paul Meintjes into his grave is finally over - after 56 days.

He will have a "state funeral" on Wednesday, and there will be no mourners nor ceremony.

When Oom Paul died, "prophet" David Francis of Durban told his widow, Tant Anna, and two of her three children that Oom Paul would "rise from the dead".

For weeks, Oom Paul was kept "on ice" in the mortuary at R250 a day, while Hertzogville buzzed with rumour and speculation.

There also have been nasty scenes and tempers became frayed as the townspeople waited for the "resurrection" or a burial.

Now, 56 days later, Oom Paul's coffin will be placed in a grave dug by municipal workers, and the hole will be filled.

And then, everything will be over.

Captain Roelof Coertze, detective chief in Hertzogville, applied on Tuesday on behalf of the town and Free State police, for a court order authorising a government funeral for Oom Paul.

Order follows a long battle

Magistrate Lehlohonolo Muso of Hoopstad granted the order shortly before lunch.

Oom Paul has to be buried by the state within 24 hours (on Wednesday).

The court order follows a long battle to get Oom Paul into a coffin and a grave.

His daughter from Kimberley, Dalene Swanepoel, his sister who lives in Hertzogville, Hettie Vorster, and other loved ones have been wanting to bury or cremate him for weeks now.

His widow - Tant Anna, who had the final say - and her two children, Pieter and Petro Joseph of Durban, refused.

They were waiting for him to "rise from the dead".

After 49 days in the local mortuary, the funeral director delivered Oom Pauls' body at the Meintjes home.

The Free State health department intervened on Thursday as they found the body, kept in a coffin next to his wife's bed, was a health risk.

The family was given a choice - either bury him or have the state order a burial.

The body was taken to the state mortuary in Bloemfontein on Saturday.

As a courtesy, Tant Anna was given the chance on Monday to organise a funeral or cremation. No arrangements were made.

All these details were mentioned in the police's court application on Tuesday.

Many wanted just a decent funeral

After hearing all the evidence, Muso ordered the state funeral according to article 48.2 of the Health Act.

This is the procedure for very poor people who die or those whose bodies are not claimed by an authorised party (the widow in this case) for funeral purposes.

Swanepoel, Vorster and others wish it could have been different with a decent funeral or cremation.

However, Tant Anna, her other two children and the "prophet" have kept their silence for days on end.

Oom Paul's body will be handed over to the police during the day on Wednesday.

Then it will all be over.


Oom Paul finally buried

August 25, 2004

The late Paul Meintjes, whose family was told by a "prophet" that he would rise from the dead, has finally been laid to rest at his hometown, Hertzogville.

Meintjes was buried in a local cemetery on Wednesday during a small ceremony attended by his sister, Hettie Vorster, and her family.

Meintjes's widow, Anna, was not present.

Others present were a small group of police officers, municipal workers and media representatives.

A minister of the Dutch Reformed Church, Johan van der Westhuizen, said a few words at the graveside.

He had asked for permission to conduct a sermon at the funeral from the Hertzogville municipality.

Paupers' burials are not necessarily attended by ministers of religion.

A magistrate granted permission on Tuesday for police to bury Meintjes's body.

This was after police took the corpse away from Meintjies' family on Saturday amid concerns that it posed a health hazard.

The remains were returned to the family earlier last week after being kept at a funeral home since July 1.

Meintjes' widow then kept the corpse beside her bed at her home in Hertzogville.

Meintjes died about eight weeks ago. His family, except for Voster, have hoped fervently for his prophesied resurrection.


Meintjes: Waiting for God

September 7, 2004

A message from God is still being awaited at the house of the late Oom Paul Meintjes, whose resurrection was predicted about three months ago.

Petro Josephs, Oom Paul's daughter, told Die Burger on Monday that she, her mother, Anna Meintjes, her brother, Pieter, and "prophet" David Francis were still awaiting God's message.

"We will inform Volksblad as soon as the Lord tells us my father is about to arise."

She says Francis does not talk to the media, but nothing has changed - her father will rise from the dead.

Hettie Vorster, Oom Paul's sister, says life goes on.

"Since the funeral I have had no contact with them (Anna, her children and the prophet). I thought he (the prophet) would disappear into the night."

She says the prophet wouldn't dare come near her. "I'm done with them. When death occurs, it's supposed to unite families, but it tore us apart."


Still waiting for Oom Paul...

June 30, 2005

Exactly a year after Oom Paul Meintjes died, his wife and two of his children still believe he will rise from the dead.

The well-loved resident of this Free State hamlet was buried only months after his death because a "prophet" had told his wife and their two children that he would rise from the dead.

Oom Paul's only son, Pieter Meintjes, said rumours that the "resurrection" would be on Friday - a year to the day after his death - were just stories being spread in the town.

Pieter, who has moved into his own home in the town since his father's death, said he hoped the residents would stop interfering in the family's affairs.

The prophet who forecast Oom Paul's resurrection, David Francis, is still in town and is living in the house of Oom Paul's widow, Anna Meintjes.

He is a friend of one of Oom Paul's daughters, Petro Josephs of Durban.

World press featured his story

Pieter said the family's belief in the resurrection of his father was as strong now as it was a year ago.

"We still believe, as we have said all along, that he will join us again, but that it will be only in the Lord's time."

The story of Oom Paul's prophesied "resurrection" last year appeared in the world press.

After his body had been kept in the mortuary for a long time and the owner refused to store it any more, it was taken to the family's house and rested next to his wife's bed for days.

The body were taken from the Meintjes house in August last year because it was posing a health hazard.

Tombstone was donated

Oom Paul was then taken to the government mortuary in Bloemfontein and the family still had the option of having him buried.

However, when no arrangements were made, the state intervened and had him buried 56 days after his death.

A tombstone was donated and it was put up on November 20.

Oom Paul's other daughter, Daleen Swanepoel of Kimberley, and his only sister, Hettie Vorster of Hertzogville, refused to have any part in the "resurrection" drama.

Mrs Vorster died on March 1 after she and Oom Paul's widow had buried the hatchet.


'Prophet' walks bound on street

October 11, 2005

After months of silence, the prophet who predicted about 14 months ago that Paul Meintjies would rise from the dead, has made his appearance again - blindfolded and with his wrists bound, walking in the town's streets, accompanied by Paul';s son.

The spectacle stopped many residents of Hertzogville in their tracks, made them look twice and had the phone lines buzzing. Which was a good thing, said prophet David Frances. That meant they noticed the message, but it was just a pity they saw the rope around his neck and not around his wrists where it actually was.

On Frances's back was a poster with Bible verses ''meant for ecclesiasticism worldwide and the Afrikaner nation'' - Ezekiel 4 to 9, Habakuk 2 and 3 and Ezekiel 22. And these had to be read in this sequence, otherwise you would fall like a parachute into the war, said Frances who broke his silence of many months on Monday to answer reporters' questions.

He repeated that what he said were not his words but the Lord's.

''It is the Lord who speaks to you, not I. I have nothing to say, we must listen to what the Lord says to us. I'm only doing what the Word says I must do.''

Apart from Frances breaking his silence, everything else is just the same. He, Tant Anna (Oom Paul's widow) and her son Pieter (now called Petrus) still believe that Oom Paul will rise from the dead.

The chapters in Ezekiel deal with the vocation of the prophet, statements about Jerusalem and about the heathen nations, and those in Habakuk about the judgment over the Galations and Habukuk's prayer.

Frances said the meaning of his and Petrus's ''show of faith'' on Monday in the town streets would also become clear from these chapters in the Bible.

Oom Paul died on 1 July 2004. The prophecy of his resurrection made worldwide news.

After his body had been kept for a long time in the mortuary at the family's expense, it stood for days next to his widow Anna's bed when the morticians did not want it in the mortuary any longer. In August the body was removed from the house because it was a health risk.

Oom Paul's body was taken to the state mortuary in Bloemfontein but the family were still given the opportunity to bury it themselves. But as they made no arrangements, the State intervened and buried him 56 days after his death. A donated tombstone was erected on 20 November last year.

Paul's other daughter in Kimberley, Daleen Swanepoel and his only sister, Hettie Vorster of Hertzogville, wanted nothing to do with the predicted resurrection.

Vorster died on 1 March this year after she and her brother Paul's widow had made their peace.


Oom Paul WILL rise, says widow

January 21, 2007

Oom Paul Meintjes will be resurrected, says his widow of three years adamantly.

Although this is the third year since his physical death, Tannie Ann Meintjes says he still will arise from the grave.

It's a matter of faith, she says.

She believes it more than ever: even more than in 2004, when she refused to have him interred, because she did not want to impede his resurrection.

Little has changed at her home since then, when Oom Paul died from a stroke and was buried only 57 days later after state intervention.

The prophet who predicted his resurrection, David Francis of the Action of Christ ministries, still can be seen in the town from time to time.

He says he's waiting for a message, but these days he's mostly quiet, like the barn at the Meintjes' house, that once thundered with his preaching. In its hey-day, the church had about four members.

Waiting for a 'message'

Tannie Anna still clings to the message delivered by the "prophet".

She was picking plums to make jam, when the reporter from Rapport visited her.

Her son, Pieter, who has been re-baptised by the "prophet" in honour of the biblical disciple, Peter, is sweeping the barn.

"I just know the messenger must wait until he has received a message. He will not speak until then," she said.

"God will speak through his messenger when the time is ripe.

"The time is not yet ripe. It doesn't help if I try to spell it out," she said with a smile.

Her new religion, since the death of Oom Paul, is a matter of faith.

And so, she waits for him, to be resurrected.

But, for the past fortnight, there has been little sign of life at the Hertzogville cemetery, save for scattered thunder-showers.


'Ghost tractor' runs amok

March 11, 2008

The small town buzzed for a long time about the rising from the dead of Oom Paul Meintjes, and now there is speculation about a "ghost" driving a tractor.

Oom Paul's name has been cropping up in residents' conversations again after a tractor apparently started itself and then rumbled off to crush a Fiat Uno.

The "ghost tractor" had been standing in bottle store owner and mechanic Ockert van Schalkwyk's workshop waiting to be fixed.

Apparently, the tractor got itself going while there was no one in the workshop.

The Fiat Uno that came off second best belonged to Jana Faber, daughter of businessman Tolla Faber.

It had also been in the workshop for repairs and was flattened by the big tractor.

Van Schalkwyk, Faber and everyone to whom one spoke said they had no idea what had happened.

Perhaps, it had been a ghost, indeed.

Who will pay the damages?

Other residents said they knew of a harvester and a bakkie that had done the same thing.

There is a sign outside Van Schalkwyk's workshop that says vehicles are parked there at their owner's risk.

"However, one never thinks that something will happen. It's a difficult situation," said Van Schalkwyk's wife, Ina.

Who will pay for the damage must still be discussed.

If it was a ghost, then it wasn't Oom Paul's ghost, said Tolla Faber.

"That man was too good to the people of Hertzogville to do them any harm."

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