NC churches appear before CRL

2016-03-30 06:00
THE chairperson of the Commission for the Promotion and Protection of the Rights of Cultural, Religious and Linguistic Communities (CRL), Thoko Mkhwanazi Xaluva, recently visited Kimberley. Photo: Boipelo Mere

THE chairperson of the Commission for the Promotion and Protection of the Rights of Cultural, Religious and Linguistic Communities (CRL), Thoko Mkhwanazi Xaluva, recently visited Kimberley. Photo: Boipelo Mere

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NORTHERN CAPE bodies had a chance to meet the Commission for the Promotion and Protection of the Rights of Cultural, Religious and Linguistic Communities (CRL).

The commission had travelled to several provinces to hear from different religious bodies how they conducted their business and to look into allegations that certain Christian churches used religion to make money illegally and that religion was being commercialised.

According to the CRL, they were shocked at the arrogance of some church leaders in the Gauteng province who did not feel bound to cooperate. On realising the commission was legally mandated, however, they came forward and co-operated.

The CLR was established by an act of Parliament, Act 19 of 2002, and has the powers to conduct investigations on any matter related to the violation and abuse of cultural, religious and linguistic rights of communities.

The Act therefore makes it a criminal offence for any person to refuse to appear before the commission or its committee upon being summoned to do so, or who refuses to answer any question, or refuses to produce a document specified in the summons issued by the commission.

Seven religious bodies were summoned in Kimberley.

The Redeemed Christian Church of God, with their headquarters in Nigeria, laid bare their operations in South Africa, particularly in Kimberley. Past. Christop-her Omogbemi Ogunade, the Kimberley parish pastor, explained to the commission that as a church they did not make people buy holy water or do strange acts as in other miracle churches. According to Ogunade, their church differs from others in doctrine.

“We only lay hands on people and according to the scripture that is enough to fulfil Gods power,” said Ogunade.

Ogunade also told the commission that their church paid taxes, paid bills in time and also paid e-tolls.

“The church also provides jobs for the unemployed and have a scheme to feed the hungry,” said Ogunade.

Past. Allen Meyer, who accompanied Ogunade, gave a brief history of the church and of the founding pastor.

According to Meyer, the church has 78 parishes in South Africa, and count the South African chief justice, Mogoeng Mogoeng, as one of its prominent members. According to Meyer, the church in Nigeria pays part of the salaries of the South African pastors.

The church also has a TV channel that is broadcast from South Africa and the church therefore pays R400 000 monthly to Sentech for their 24 hours broadcast.

The two pastors had a tough time explaining their belief that there were a lot of heathen in South Africa that needed to be converted to Christianity.

The pastors, however, confirmed that their founder was a rich man who owned a jet and had houses in 180 countries.

The other church that was summoned, is led by Past. Nkosinathi Bosman, and is based in Phutanang in Galeshewe.

This church is called the Dynamic Living Christian Centre. The church has been existence for four years and only has 12 members.

The tough-talking chairperson of the commission, Thoko Mkhwanazi Xalavu, was accompanied by commissioners Richard Botha, Shiela Mbele-Khama, Prof. Luka Mosoma Z who is the deputy chairperson Z and Dr Anton Knoetze.

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