HomeNewsSouth AfricaCRL Commission moves quickly to regulate religion in South Africa

CRL Commission moves quickly to regulate religion in South Africa

 

crlOn Tuesday (October 11), Freedom of Religion South Africa (FOR SA) joined 50+ religious and traditional leaders invited to a meeting at the CRL Rights Commission, to discuss the Commission’s findings and recommendations following its recent controversial investigation into the “commercialisation” of religion and abuse of people’s belief systems in South Africa.

According to the CRL, the investigation has produced evidence of commercialisation of religion and “non-compliance with the law”, including no bank accounts, annual financial reports, proper governance structures, or visas (for foreign religious leaders).

As a result, the CRL will recommend to parliament (amongst other things) that legislation be adopted, providing for “peer review mechanisms, registration of religious and traditional healers institutions, clearance and registration of religious practitioners and workers”.

In essence, the CRL proposes the establishment of “accredited umbrella organisations”, who will have the power and authority to monitor (including to investigate and discipline) its members.

While churches will be free to decide which umbrella body they want to belong to, by law, everyone will have to belong somewhere.

In addition, the CRL proposes a “peer review mechanism” which, it explained, will take the form of “a board or whatever who understands the religion itself, or how it should be working” and who will be able to say “this [particular belief, teaching or practice] is normal for us, and this is unusual”.

In addition, every religious organisation (church) and every pastor will have to be registered / licensed in order to practice, and will require them having a basic knowledge of running a bank account, running a meeting, governance structures, etc.

Not surprisingly, the CRL’s findings and recommendations were met with a number of questions and concerns by those present, particularly with regard to the detail of what is being recommended (including what exactly is meant by “peer review”, “accreditation”, “umbrella organisations”, “registration”, “licensing” and “de-licensing”, “punitive measures”, etc).

Leaders were also pressing the commission for clarity on the way forward in terms of process and timelines involved, which the CRL explained were “very tight”.

Elaborating on the urgency, the CRL said that the matter has already been raised with the Deputy Minister of Justice and that it will be “fast-tracked”.

In the circumstances, the CRL agreed to make its preliminary report available to leaders within 2 – 3 days, whereafter leaders will have 3 weeks to consult with their constituencies and make comments to the CRL. The Commission will then reconvene with religious and traditional leaders to finalise the report, whereafter it will be sent to parliament.

Once Parliament has given the go-ahead, the South African Law Reform Commission (SALRC) will be tasked with the drafting of the relevant legislation, which will involve a process of public consultation.

Commenting on the commission’s proposed regulation of religion, CRL Chairlady Mrs Thoko Mkhwanazi-Xaluva said as follows: “People must be held accountable for the things they do, so that religion gets back its dignity and respect”.

Urgent need to mobilise
As publicly stated at the meeting on Tuesday also, FOR SA is grateful to the CRL for engaging stakeholders, including ourselves, in a consultative process with regard to this matter of national importance and concern. As an organisation, we remain committed to working with the commission in finding solutions that are both legal and practical, and that will ultimately protect (rather than curtail) religious freedom and freedom of association.

Following the meeting, we have quite a few questions regarding the practical outworking of what is being recommended, which we hope the impending report will clarify so as to place religious leaders in a position where they know exactly what they are in for and can give an informed response.

At this stage, we remain concerned however about the effect of the proposed recommendations on the freedom to form, maintain and govern religious organisations (including churches) autonomously, according to one’s own interpretation of the Bible and understanding of God’s will, and without prescription or interference by the State.

While the commission sought to emphasise that it was not proposing “State review” or “State intervention” in any way at any time, the fact remains that it is proposing regulation of religion (by the State, by means of law), which necessarily will have legal (and in the event of non-compliance, punitive) and practical implications for every church, and every pastor, in South Africa.

Even “self-regulation” in the proposed form of “accredited umbrella organisations”, will of necessity entail a degree of State control or interference, in that some department or functionary of State will be given the power to decide who qualifies as an “accredited” organisation, as well as the power to withdraw any “accreditation”.

Likewise, a body backed by the authority and power of the State, will have the power to issue a pastor with a “licence” to practice, as well as the power to withdraw any such “licence”.

As soon as the CRL’s report is released this week, FOR SA will advise its members of the contents thereof and the practical and legal implications of the commission’s recommendations, and invite religious leaders’ input so that we can speak as a strong and united voice on this issue of regulation which will radically affect and alter the religious landscape of our country.

As the proposals of the commission will affect (the institutional freedom of) every church, and every pastor, in South Africa, we need every church and every pastor to stand with us for freedom (from State interference).

As mentioned in previous articles (see http://forsa.org.za/proposed-regulation-of-religion-in-sa/), FOR SA believes that, instead of regulating religion and in the process burdening churches with even more laws they have to comply with, unscrupulous pastors who swindle money or place people’s health or lives in danger (for e.g. by telling them to drink petrol), should be caught using the existing (tax, immigration, criminal, etc) laws.

CALL TO ACTION:
Given the tight timelines involved in this matter, and the urgent need for religious leaders to mobilise on this issue, we would appreciate it if you were to contact us at legal@forsa.org.za and let us have your contact details (your name, the name of the religious organisation that you are representing, telephone number and e-mail address) as soon as possible, so that we can send you a copy of the CRL’s Report as soon as we receive it and engage you in the discussions thereon.

This is a time to be wide awake, and for the Church to act – not only for the sake of our generation, but for generations to come!

 
 

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16 Comments

  1. Graham Ries says:

    Whilst this is certainly not a shock to us here in South Africa – the rest of the world has been persecuted for their FAITH in the ONE TRUE GOD OF THE AGES for years now – one only has to read a few of the VOM (Voice of the Martyrs) newsletters to get a HARSH WAKE UP of what happens to Christians in the rest of the world, or listen to the reports that come out of the Middle and Far Easts, (so sadly even Israel itself) or interviews with the Bishop of Baghdad, or just look around you if you are a BELIEVER in Yeshua Ha’amaschiach (Jesus Messiah) to realise it had to come at some time. Just type “Christian Persecution” into your favourite search engine – probably Google – and see what you get. This next statement may not be what you want to hear but I’m going to say it anyway. Bring it on! Why do we fight the inevitable? This is the way the LORD has planned for His Arrival, His Second Coming, to happen. All this does, all the ridiculous and pedantically pathetic movements to try to legalise our FAITH, to marginalise us, is nothing more than the PERSECUTION Jesus told us we would experience. Read Matthew 5:11; John 15:18-21; Luke 14:25-33; Isaiah 55:1-2; Isaiah 30:28 and literally – I MEAN literally – HUNDREDS of other scriptures to see what I mean. As these little people run about like chickens with their heads cut off, trying to tell Born-Again Christians and Passionate Believers, Disciples of the Master, what to do – all they themselves are doing is fulfilling prophecy, written thousands of years ago. Basically they are making what Jesus Christ offers freely, very costly, that’s all. They don’t stop it or curtail it in any way. Can you stand in front of a tsunami and stop it? You’ve got about as much chance of stopping Jesus from returning as that. So again I say, BRING IT ON! The more you hound us, the more you actually encourage us – because it means that the LORD’s return is getting closer and closer and closer…Believers – it is time to look up, because our redemption grows near! Read Luke 21:28. This is going to be a real time of real testing of your FAITH…remember, those of us who stay the course and finishes our race are the ones who get the crowns that last forever, and ever and ever. What MIGHT be a VERY GOOD THING to do right now at the outset, seeing as the long awaited persecution of Christians in South Africa is finally starting, is to begin getting RIGHT with ALL of our brothers and sisters, and letting them see that our FAITH is unshakeable, and by that very fact, win their hearts and bring them to the King of kings and the LORD of Lords! A word for the persecutors – browse YouTube, looking for videos on the END TIMES. Check out the news report ones, look at many of them (some are pure hype but many are very factual and thought provoking) and then compare them to what the Bible tells us about the times of the END – and make your own judgement. How is it possible that the things written about thousands and thousands of years ago are right now coming true all around us – including this pathetic persecution? Why is it that people will willingly believe stories of prophecies, but fail to recognise the truth of REAL ones? Is this history repeating itself from when the Jews did not recognise their own Messiah when He stood right in the middle of them? Are we that bitter and twisted and downright stupid that we cannot see the truth? Apparently, because Jesus spoke of that as well – Read both Matthew 16:2,3 and Luke 12:56 for what might be to you a REAL EYE OPENER… BTW – all of this is written in the Love of the master because He truly does love you – why else would He put up with all of your (use your own word here)…

  2. Peter Mc Gregor says:

    Let us be grateful for the fact that the LORD Himself has made possible an organisation (FORSA)who is willing to assist those BIBLE Believing Churches who wish to avail themselves of their expertise. We need to also understand that the enemy has infiltrated many of the churches in this country, thereby creating conditions for concern and a need for some vigilance. Nevertheless, given the record of corruption in this country, it is hard to believe that TRUTH and HONESTY will prevail. Therefore the downside of this whole operation could lead to a potential changing of agenda’s with Bible Believing Christians ending up as the target. I only say this, as we need to be aware of the implications.

    • Graham Ries says:

      Hi Peter – that IS the evil ones agenda already – he is trying desperately for the great unsaved to see the saved as their targets. We are not, but how more ‘persecuted’ could we be than to be ‘eliminated’ from the equation? All born-again believers need to see beyond the enemies futile attempts to stop us, and see us for what we really are – HIS demise… but remember, our battle is NOT against flesh and bone, but against the powers and principalities – read that as against the various ranks of demonic forces of Satan’s kingdom. Wise was the man who said, “Nobody can do everything, but everybody can do SOMETHING.”

    • ANDISWA DLAMINI says:

      YES YOU MUST BE GREATFULL BECOUSE YOU ARE AMONGST THOSE WHO PREACH AFRICANS TO REBEL AGAINST EVERYTHING THAT FORMED THE FOUNDATION OF AFRICAN FAMILY AND SOCIETY, BUT WHAT ABOUT US AFRICANS?

      MY LEADER DR PROPHET RADEBE IS A TRUE MAN OF GOD, HIS TEACHINGS ARE TRUTHFUL AND BUILDING MY TRUE IDENTITY AS AN AFRICAN. HIS COMING WAS PROFICIED BY THE PROFETESS MANSTUPA SO WHO IS THE ENEMY HERE? A BLACK MAN IN HIS OWN COUNTRY? OR A SLAVE MASTER WHO USES A BIBBLE TO BE RICH?

  3. […] In last week’s Gateway News, we reported on the recent meeting with religious and traditional leaders to discuss the outcome of the CRL Rights Commission’s investigation into the ‘commercialisation’ of religion and abuse of people’s belief systems, and in particular the Commission’s proposed regulation of religion. (See link to the article here.) […]

    • ANDISWA DLAMINI says:

      LENDABA IYANGHLUPHA AYINGI NIKI UKUTHULA NEZE, LENTO ENIYENZAYO EYABELUNGU, NIFUNANI KUMAQABA NINGEMAQABA? YEKELANI PHASI AMAQABA NOBUQABA BABO NGOBA NISHAYA SENGATHI NIYAWATHANDA NIBE NIWAHLOMEKISA KO SLAVE MASTER BENU, ABELAPHI NABAPHILISI BOMOYA ABANIDINGI BENIKUPHI NINA BEHLUSHWA UBIZO? NANI KUPHI NALAMA ORGANISATION NGEZIKHATHI ZAMA MISSION, LE ORGANISATION IZOCHITHA NJE QHA, #SILENCE OPPRESSION MUST FALL

  4. D.N.Stirk says:

    Thank you Graham. Biblical prophesy led me to the Truth.

    • ANDISWA DLAMINI says:

      TELL ME WHO WROTE THAT BIBBLE, FOR WHICH NATION? THIS IS AFRICA IF THAT BOOK IS 100% ACCURATE WHERE IS THE AFRICAN PROPHETS WHY ARE THEY NOT MENSIONED BECOUSE TODAY WE SEE GREATEST PROPHETS WHO COMES FROM AFRICA, ARE YOU TRYING TO SAY THEY ARE FALSE PROPHETS, PROPHETESS MANSUPA, NTSIKANA, ISIAH SHEMBE AND PROPHET RADEBE – CHECK THE HISTORY OF THE HIDDEN SCROLLS, WHY THE SCHOLARS HAD TO WRITE AND ADJUST OTHER SCRIPTURES AND THAN COME ON OTHER SCRIPTURES TO SAY DO NOT ADD OR SUBRACT THE WORD OF GOD. WHAT EXCETLY IS GOING ON WITH THIS WORD OF GOD IS IT RACIST OR WHAT? I ASSUME THE WORD OF GOD SPEAKS THROUGH YOU AND YOUR ACTIONS, GOD IS LIGHT YOU CANT PREACH LIGHT WITH THE EVIL HEART. THIS ORGANISATION IS THE WORK OF DARKNESS TRYING TO MISLEAD AFRICAN SOCIETY.

  5. Andiswa Dlamimi says:

    Ok. I hear about this organisation, but what iwish to Know is that you are busy trying by all means to oppress other church leaders, when Crl was issueing the summons they had the energy to make sure that everyone who was on target was informed but now when it about discussions we only see that alot has been discussed. So how am i suppose to trust such organisations? People why does it have to happen again? European people have you not had enough of Afrika? Why ijust dont agree with this. Set the blackMan free. ‘Dear Slave Maste rs your time is up.. GO and research about who wrote the bibble! Why the bibble was written, share to us more of the dead sea scrolls and myb Why isiah Shembe was troubled! As iQaba idonot support your organisations. It has propaganda and silence oppression.

  6. Jabulani Mkwananzi says:

    I’m a full member of The Revelation Church Of God i don’t believe or support regulating Christianity not withstanding the fact that all criminals who are behind the Bible must be dealt with accordingly however were does it leave the true Prophets sent by God if it is the case?considering the time when Jesus came there is no ways you could regulate the Son of God as he was sent direct from God for a certain purpose or mission it is same applies to his true Prophets how do you regulate them because they came for a certain purpose or mission not beating around the bushes my Prophet my spiritual father whom I believe he is a true Prophet whom I have no doubt that he is an accredited Prophet sent by God to Africans to restore African pride and it’s African way of worshiping God Ubaba Umprophet u Radebe how will you regulate him or his Church as he has been sent for a certain purpose or mission which so far no one has raised any issue of abuse or being mislead as it is the main concern of the Commission to protect people,in our Church we have full spiritual protection from our Prophet I’m not going againest the law if at all there is anything wrong or bad that can be found from our spiritual father if proven however it’s my main concern as I don’t see it getting the heavenly support to regulate it’s servants.Think again before pushing this agenda further who ever is behind this issue it’s far better to be on the other side of the law than being on the other side againest the heavens while you are thinking that you are doing God a favour if you are againest God who is going to protect you as God is the Alfa and Omega God is so jelouse of Prophets his servants Judas did the same thing and regretted his act but it was too late let alone to hang himself deal with criminals one by one not painting everybody with one brush.We are Africans we need African Gospel and teaching that will Aline with our spiritual problems and beside God always does that for instance when the people of isreal were crying to while in Egypt he did send them a Prophet from their own tribe which is God has sent us our Prophet from our own tribe we believe in him in honest speaking we don’t him even our church to be regulated we don’t have any complaints that we can arise again him as he a true Prophet sent by God to us the ones who follow him and his teaching don’t get me wrong I’m just adding my views to protect my religion on my own personal capacity .Thank you

  7. licebo says:

    Ndiythemba ukhona link uzondivisisa xandibhala ngesiXhosa phof ke ndingumxhosa akhotyala.ndibuhlungu ndiyakhathazeka ngalengcinezelo niyenzayo kumadoda kaThixo, none CRL ningamasela ningamaxoki abona balahlekisi nini aba. Abantu badala bakhonza ngendlela abafunayo yonke landaba nizifaka kuyo ayingeni ndawo tuu kuni, khame ndibuze ngoba nithi onke enikwenzeyo nenzela ukunceda abantu kodwa ngok xandifunda apha nithetha ngeFANICAIL REPORTs
    Sentsho bana niyintoni kulonto _nifuna imali into enizozuza kuyo .Mkhulu esiMkhonzayo uThixo xandingananto yokwenza sanudlalela ezindlini zenkosi .anga umoya weNkosi
    Uhlele kuthi We realy living in the last days kodwa ndathandaz thina bantu besiswe esimnyama sithi xasiphela esizwe siphele sithandana,samkelane, sizazi OWh NKOSI
    YAM BAXOLELE ABAKWAZI ABAKWENZAYO

  8. UNODA KHUPE says:

    good day
    Am a Proud Member of The Revelation Church of God and write this response in my own capacity.This so called regularisation of churches is clearly something that has not been thought through but done in haste as a stop gap measure to try and curb so called unscrupulous men of the cloth.My question would be to the CRL commission whose interests are you serving in this reglarisation of religion?As a Proud member of The Revelation Church of God i do not recall ever having mu opinion being asked for when this whole circus started hence my question ‘Whose interests are you serving…?”Religion is not something that can be regularised as Financila institutes or educational institues .
    My Second question to the commission is what spiritual elements are being used to determine if a Leader of a church is qualified to lead a church spiritually.The measure in place granting a licence such as having knowledge of bank accounts ,how to hold a meeting are useless in this case.Clearly this is a hasty decision that has been made to please a certain sector or particular way of worship .what does a bank statement have to do with a calling.Whose religion is being protected by all this African or the west? whose religion is being damaged by all this west or African …..mawubuye umoya wabaProphet bakwantu …..

  9. Ntosh says:

    Actually the man you are trully fighting with was prophecised by Prophetess Mantsoepa-Free State years ago.And the mountain He has,was also prophesised.He is a real man of God.

  10. Andiswa Dlamini says:

    Prophet Radebe Is ihlubi just like Amalevi…amahlubi anoMlando ojulile wokuphilisa. Isiah shembe himself have a blood lamaHlubi hambani ke nibheke o Mr Nyoka and Patrol if they have a calling ningaba bhanqi ngebhande linye

  11. Hi guys. Please note that we will not accept any more discussion on your views about different prophets etc. Any more such comments will not be published. Just a friendly reminder that this is a Christian news site where we encourage gracious comment that is on-topic (see commenting guidelines at the top of this comments section). We respect people’s freedom of belief and religion and share a concern with many that the CRL proposals pose a threat to such freedoms. The CRL’s report was published this week and we will be posting an article on Friday that will look at this issue in more depth. God bless. [EDITOR]

  12. Almighty God is calling us to be in unity as the Body of Christ is very divided. Nothing brings unity faster than persecution as communist Russia discovered to their cost. My prayer is that all born again Christians will seek the faith first seen in the early church and discard idle practices that do not promote holiness. Allow the Holy Spirit to fully manifest His gifts and power to the glory of Jesus Christ. Amen.