Com­plaints of re­li­gious an­tics keep pil­ing up

CityPress - - News - ZINHLE MAPUMULO zinhle.mapumulo@city­

While Par­lia­ment is yet to process its fi­nal re­port into the com­mer­cial­i­sa­tion of re­li­gion, new com­plaints by the pub­lic over the abuse of church con­gre­gants are pil­ing up at the Com­mis­sion for the Pro­mo­tion and Pro­tec­tion of the Rights of Cultural, Re­li­gious and Lin­guis­tic Com­mu­ni­ties.

In the lat­est in a string of bizarre in­ci­dents re­ported to the com­mis­sion, a pas­tor al­legedly threat­ened a con­gre­gant, say­ing God would “strike him down with light­ning” if he failed to pay his tithe.

Com­mis­sion chair Thoko Mkhwanazi-Xaluva told City Press this week that this was one of many com­plaints it re­ceived daily.

“Some com­plaints are shock­ing and scary. How does a pas­tor put a per­son in a freezer for an hour, in the name of re­ceiv­ing a mir­a­cle?” she asked, re­fer­ring to an in­ci­dent which oc­curred last year at the End Times Dis­ci­ples Min­istries in Mpumalanga, where so-called prophet Penuel Mn­guni com­manded two con­gre­gants to get into a chest freezer and sleep.

Thirty min­utes later, the freezer was opened and the pair stepped out freez­ing cold. They claimed that although the re­frig­er­a­tor had been ad­justed to freez­ing point, they were “warm in­side”.

Mkhwanazi-Xaluva said: “Peo­ple are wor­ried about what is hap­pen­ing in some of our churches.

“They do not know where to turn be­cause ev­ery day a new harm­ful prac­tice is re­port­edly tak­ing place in churches.

“That is why we want Par­lia­ment to fast track the reg­u­la­tory frame­work for re­li­gion.

“These gim­micks are be­com­ing too much. If we are not care­ful as a na­tion, we will find a lot of peo­ple dead some­where and there will be no­body to ac­count,” she said.

Mkhwanazi-Xaluva added that Par­lia­ment had given the com­mis­sion two pos­si­ble dates in June to present its find­ings and rec­om­men­da­tions.

The com­mis­sion launched a probe into the com­mer­cial­i­sa­tion of re­li­gion and the abuse of peo­ple’s be­lief sys­tems in South Africa in mid2015.

In Oc­to­ber last year, churches across the coun­try were asked for their in­put into the pre­lim­i­nary re­port.

These were taken into con­sid­er­a­tion and a fi­nal re­port was drafted. This is the re­port that will be sub­mit­ted to Par­lia­ment.

TALK TO US Do you think a reg­u­la­tory frame­work should be pro­mul­gated for re­li­gious prac­tice?

SMS us on 35697 us­ing the key­word CHURCH. Please in­clude your name and prov­ince. SMSes cost R1.50

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