CRL Rights Commission’s Final Report to Parliament in June

by Daniela Ellerbeck
15 June 2017

It is greatly concerning that the CRL has ignored the concerns and input of the faith community, and is pushing ahead with its plans to regulate and license all religion in South Africa.

Please take time to view the video FOR SA has produced, which summarises our main concerns and proposes alternative solutions to address abuses perpetrated in the name of religion.

The CRL’s Final Report on the “Commercialisation of Religion and Abuse of People’s Belief Systems”, which recommends broad-scale regulation and licensing of religion in South Africa, will be presented initially to the Portfolio Committee on Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs sometime later in June. (A copy of the 2017 CRL Rights Commission’s Report can be downloaded HERE. Scroll down to and click on “CRL Report on Commercialisation & Regulation of Religion.)

The CRL is asking Parliament to amend the CRL Act to give the Commission the power to set up a national structure, whereby each religion (Christianity, Muslim etc.) will have a Peer Review Committee which will approve and oversee Umbrella Bodies, to which all Religious Practitioners will be forced to belong.

The CRL itself will be represented on the Peer Review Committee and will effectively run and finance it by the provision of “research, legal support, secretariat and other necessary services.” This Committee is therefore subservient to (and dependent on) the CRL, referring matters to it and advising it on all resolutions it has taken regarding complaints. The Report clearly states that “The final decision powers shall lie with the CRL Rights Commission.”

Given that the CRL is, according to Chapter 9 of the SA Constitution, an “institution of State” with its Commissioners appointed by the President, this is clearly an attempt to grab power that it was never intended to have and it amounts to State capture of religion.  The CRL Commission will also have the ultimate authority to decide upon matters of doctrine and who is (and is not) recognised as a “Religious Practitioner”.  It will also have the power to charge license fees, which will likely raise close to a billion Rand annually and which will finance this elaborate structure.

FOR SA maintains its clear position that the proposals of the CRL are unnecessary (because existing laws can be used to deal with every “abuse” the CRL has identified), unworkable (because licensing will not solve the issues) and unconstitutional (because it is a flagrant erosion of the constitutional rights to freedom of religion and freedom of association).  We will be working actively to oppose this illegitimate initiative and to ensure that the religious community are aware of the implications and consequences should the State succeed in capturing and controlling religion.

Support FOR SA

Freedom of Religion South Africa (FOR SA) is dedicated to protecting and preserving the freedoms and rights that the South African Constitution has granted to the faith community. You can help FOR SA protect our freedom by:

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