Church Investigation Findings In Parliament


The long awaited findings of the commission were presented to Parliament last week following the investigation into the “Commercialisation of Religion and Abuse of People’s Belief Systems”. The investigation followed after alot media reports about instances in places of religious worship which put the lives of congregants in danger.These included reports about religious leaders feeding congregants snakes and grass , spraying insecticides “Doom” and giving them paraffin to drink.

CRL chairperson Thoko

These are the recommendations made by the Commission for the Promotion and Protection of the Rights of Cultural‚ Religious and Linguistic Communities in their report to Parliament. According to the recommendations‚

– 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.

According to the commission some religious leaders have been opposed to the convening of this investigation‚ fearing that the commission would interfere with freedom of religion guaranteed by the Constitution. The chairperson of the commission said the aim of the investigation was to protect the congregants.

 – The investigation found that there was no comprehensive database of religious leaders and there were a high number of unregistered institutions.

– The commission also found that the death of worshippers using faith products and defaulting on their chronic medication was high.

– It also found that there were “cult-like” religious organisations which engaged in controversial practices like asking congregants to eat grass or drink petrol.

CRL Commission media briefing

However‚ Freedom of Religion South Africa (FOR SA)‚ said it was not persuaded that licensing of practitioners was the way to go.  They believe the country has laws which deal with every abuse that the commission had identified, if there is a criminal element then the law should be able to deal with it.

Some pastors and faith leader said this is a indication that the commission‚ an institution of the state‚ wanted to meddle in religious affairs.

The full list of the commissions findings can be found on