Thou shalt not preach without being registered, says CRL

Johannesburg - No one will be allowed to preach without being registered.

This is one of the recommendations submitted to Parliament last week by the  Commission for the Promotion and Protection of the Rights of  Cultural, Religious and Linguistic Communities (CRL), Netwerk24 reported on Wednesday. 

The CRL on Tuesday morning revealed its report on the commercialisation of religions and the exploitation of people's beliefs.

The CRL in 2015 started an investigation to protect religious practices in South Africa. That after a series of incidents which included preachers forcing worshippers to eat snakes, drink petrol and kiss them.  

The chairperson of the CRL, Thoko Mkhwanazi-Xaluva, said in Johannesburg the aim of the investigation included making sure that "those horrendous stories aren't sustainable".

Mkhwanazi-Xaluva said Parliament had to approve the recommendations before they could be implemented.

"If Parliament doesn't agree, it can approach the High Court to set aside our report and recommendations."

She said the CRL recommended that faith practitioners and places of worship be registered with an accredited "umbrella organisation".

This would include the SA Council of Churches.

"The umbrella organisations will report to peer-evaluation committees who will report to the CRL. In this way we will build up a data base of every religious practitioner and place of worship. We have to know who these people are, what they do and where."

Mkhwanazi-Xaluva said it would help ensure that religious practitioners do not violate basic human rights, such as human dignity.

"We have to ensure that faith practices are subject to the Constitution."

Mkhwanazi-Xaluva said they would also be making sure that religious practitioners don't have criminal records.

"And yes, people will say God has forgiven faith practitioners for their crimes. Perhaps that's the way things work in heaven, but here we are bound by the Constitution. We adhere to the law.

"A person with a criminal record can't work with our children. One can't predict what could happen."


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