Re­li­gious body find­ings slammed

The Star Early Edition - - NEWS - TANKISO MAKHETHA

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.

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