Religious body findings slammed
THE Commission for the Rights of Cultural, Religious and Linguistic Communities’ (CRL) damning report has been rejected by some religious leaders.
Pastor Paseka “Mboro” Motsoeneng has vowed to challenge the report.
Speaking to radio 702 yesterday, Mboro accused CRL chairwoman Thoko MkhwanaziXaluva of lacking credibility.
Mboro said: “This woman has no credibility. She is targeting certain people.”
The CRL report wants religious leaders to be registered to curb strange practices that have, in the past, seen congregants being made to eat grass, part with money and drink petrol, among a host of other acts, all in the name of religion.
The section 9 body yesterday released its report titled “Commercialisation of Religion and Abuse of People’s Belief Systems”, in which it warned that churches should have regulated affiliation bodies to counter controversial practices.
The report, which is in the hands of the government, recommends a process that would establish a structure for the registration of religious leaders’ places of worship.
“This… would be similar to that of other professional bodies such as that of lawyers, nurses, doctors and engineers.”
Mkhwanazi-Xaluva said the report proposed a structure which would safeguard the mechanisms that were put in place where decisions were made by each religion on behalf of its affiliated members.
“All religious practitioners must be registered to the CRL through their accredited umbrella organisation. No religious leader will be allowed to operate without the registration,” Mkhwanazi-Xaluva told the media.
This would mean that every registered leader should have a location where they conduct religious ceremonies.
“Umbrella organisations will be accredited by the CRL after submission of their governance framework.
“The governance framework to which their members must adhere should introduce a code of conduct, which should say that this is the behaviour that is acceptable. Like all other professions,” Mkhwanazi-Xaluva said.
“In some instances, institutions are controlled and owned by one person. In some cases, the finance committee and other church committees constitute the spiritual leader, his wife, and some of his friends,” she added.
Michael Swain, the executive director at Freedom of Religion South Africa, argued that consultation with the objective of developing a code of ethics to identify and govern the behaviour, standards and processes needed to take place.
Swain said the South African religious community was capable of regulating itself to make the necessary adjustments to address the valid concerns expressed by the CRL report.