The Commission for the Promotion and Protection of Cultural, Religious and Linguistic Communities (CRL Rights Commission) is investigating the commercialisation of religion and the abuse of people’s beliefs.
This will involve the critical look into the records of religious organizations.
Therefore, several religious leaders have been summoned but it appears that some won’t adhere to the call, which will cost them a great deal, including ending up behind bars.
Those summoned to the hearings are expected to produce their ordination certificate, the church registration certificate, bank statements and the annual financial statements, starting from 2012.
Religious leaders including Nigeria’s Chris Oyakhilome, who is part of those summoned, indicated that he would fight the commission in court before he released his records, according to the head of the commission, Thoko Mkhwanazi-Xaluva.
Mkhwanazi-Xaluva said that the commission is looking at possibly filing charges of intimidation and had already asked the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) to advise on the next legal course of action.
“If he (Oyakhilome) intends on that route, we are ready. He will have to face the same fate as the others who refuse to hand over their financial records,” she said.
Furthering on the resistance from other religious leaders, she told News24, “We are forced to take the legal route because some of them are not complying and we cannot be held [to] ransom by a few.”
“Some of these religious leaders will face prison if they do not comply and we have been clear about our course of action. Some religious leaders have also threatened the commission, which is leading us toward the legal route. Saps have been notified already,” she said.
“These people take money from people. What are they doing with that money? We want to know. We will not back down,” she said.