CRL Commission Report: The Commission for the Promotion and Protection of the Rights of Cultural, Religious and Linguistic Communities (CRL Rights Commission) is pushing for all religious leaders and their places of worship to be registered.
In a media briefing on Tuesday, the Commission said it also recommended in its report that every registered religious leader should have a location where he or she conducts religious ceremonies and this could be churches‚ homes‚ mosques‚ temples‚ mountains‚ open fields and tents.
The report was handed over to Parliament last week. Investigations by the commission were triggered by the ‘Commercialisation of Religion and Abuse of People’s Belief Systems’ in the country.
The report also stipulated that:
Each worship centre would freely form their umbrella organisations and these umbrella organisations must be registered and known to peer-review committees. These committees will each cover a particular religion. For example‚ one for Christians and one for Muslims.
These committees will ensure there is religious self-regulation and accountability. The peer-review committee will be the final mediator of disputes within their own religion.
Chairperson of the commission, Thoko Mkhwanazi-Xaluva said the aim of the investigation is to protect congregants from dangers.
Recently, South Africa witnessed a wave of practices where congregants were subjected to bizarre and unorthodox rituals to receive healing.
Prophet Rufus Phala of AK Spiritual Christian Church in Makgodu, Limpopo made headlines last year when made his congregants drink antiseptic liquid Dettol for healing.
In 2014, Rabboni Ministries pastor, Lesego Daniel broke the internet when Facebook images on the church’s website showed his followers eating grass and flowers on his orders.
In 2015, Facebook images also showed a 25-year-old pastor of the End Times Disciples Ministries, Penuel Mnguni feeding his members stones which he claimed to have turned into bread.
Last year, self-proclaimed prophet Lethebo Rabalago of the Mount Zion General Assembly in the Limpopo province also earned fierce criticism for himself using a pesticide called Doom to heal people.
His action was condemned both within and outside the country, including the company that produces Doom (Tiger Brands) and the government commission.
Rabalago defended himself in an interview, saying he sprayed the face of one woman because she had an eye infection and claimed the
woman believed in the power of God. He also claims the spray can heal cancer and HIV.
The bizarre religious healing demonstrated were widely condemned by various organisations and individuals within and outside the country.
Earlier this year, the High Court ordered pastor Lethebo Rabalago dubbed the ‘Prophet of Doom’ to stop using the insecticide on his congregants’