Complaints of religious antics keep piling up

2017-04-16 06:01
CRL chairperson Thoko Mkhwanazi-Xaluva during a panel discussion of experts. Photo by: Jabu Kumalo

CRL chairperson Thoko Mkhwanazi-Xaluva during a panel discussion of experts. Photo by: Jabu Kumalo

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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 mid-2015.

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.

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