Over the past few weeks the Commission for the Promotion and Protection of the Rights of Cultural, Religious and Linguistic Communities (the CRL Rights Commission) has been investigating the commercialisation of churches and questionable practices and claims by a number of church leaders.
Yesterday the commission was less than impressed with Rabboni Centre Ministries’ pastor Lesego Daniel’s explanation of why he made his congregants eat grass and drink petrol.
“When I do things, it is no longer me, but me and my master. I was led by the Holy Spirit,” Daniel told the commission on Monday, according to the Sowetan. He also compared making people drink petrol to the rite of Holy Communion.
Daniel is one of a number of pastors who have been summoned to appear before the commission to answer for their actions. The commission was formed in response to a complaint lodged by the South African Council of Churches about a number of incidents that have caused public outrage.
“When churches start selling pap, T-shirts and water after services . . . or when people stop taking their HIV or blood pressure medicine because traditional healers say ‘drink my water, it will heal you’ – and charge people for it, it becomes problematic,” CRL Rights Commission Chairperson Thoko Mkhwanazi said in an interview with The Star newspaper two months ago. She added that they did not want to regulate religion, but needed to look at some of the things certain religious leaders promise churchgoers.
The other controversial pastors who have been summoned before the commission include, End of Times Disciples Ministries’ pastor, Penuel Mnguni, and Incredible Happenings Ministries’ pastor Paseka Motsoeneng (Mboro). Several traditional leaders have also been summoned.
Last week Motsoeneng refused to give the commission his church’s financial documents.
“For my belief, I will be glad to go to jail. Even now, I can be taken there,” Mboro said. It has been reported that Prophet Mboro claims he can perform miracles.
“Now the headlines will be saying Mboro has R10 million in his account . . . I have enemies. Now they will know my strength and weakness . . . I want to protect myself, my church and my ministry, so I have to look and consult thoroughly with my lawyers,” he said.