Source: South Africa Government The Commission for Promotion and Protection of the Rights of Cultural, Religious and Linguistic Communities (CRL Rights Commission) and the Commission for Gender Equality (CGE) are both Chapter nine Institutions established to strengthen and deepen Constitutional Democracy are concerned that basic fundamental rights of individuals in the name of religion are being violated by some Religious institutions.
CRL Rights Commission is tasked with amongst others promotion and protection of religious rights of communities whereas the CGE is mandated by the Constitution and other applicable legislation to promote and protect gender equality.
Our two Constitutional bodies condemn uceligious practices that exploit unsuspecting and vulnerable underprivileged and vulnerable groups. CGE and CRL have observed media reports allegedly stating that pregnant women and women in general were lured by Pastor Lesego Daniel of Rabboni Centre ministries in Ga-Rankuwa to eat grass and drink petrol during religion ceremonies.
Both our institutions respect the freedom of religion, belief and opinion as enshrined in section 15 of the Constitution. However Religious practices that contravene the founding provisions of the Constitution, the Bill of Rights and International Law should be discontinued. We cannot allow religious Institutions practicing unsavoury harmful religious practices and continue to make pronouncements that are dangerous to the health and well-being of people, especially pregnant women in the name of religion.
We call upon Religious organizations, Government, Community members, civil society organizations and private organisations to strongly condemn churches who continue to exploit the vulnerable and the destitute in the name of religion. It is important to note that in terms of the Constitution, everyone has inherent dignity and the right to have their dignity respected and protected.
People's living conditions and vulnerabilities should not be used as reasons to subject them to inhumane practices under the disguise of religion. The CRL Rights Commission and the CGE are of the view that public education needs to be prioritised to ensure that correct information on religious rights and freedom of association is disseminated to communities.