Mantashe attends launch of indigenous churches association
ANC chairperson Gwede Mantashe attended the launch of an association to protect and promote indigenous churches and traditional healers in Johannesburg at the weekend.
Inkululeko Yesizwe (The Freedom of a Nation) aims to promote universal acceptance and acknowledgment of indigenous churches‚ traditional healers and African practices and values that will cultivate the spirit of ubuntu.
Its founder and president‚ Dr Prophet Robert Radebe‚ said traditional religions taught people about humanity.
“We are talking about moral regeneration. We do not have to have a campaign for that. We do that in our churches‚” Radebe said.
He explained that his church was not fighting against the Commission for the Promotion and Protection of the Rights of Cultural‚ Religious and Linguistic Communities.
Radebe and other church leaders were among several leaders of some churches who were being investigated by the commission after claims that they were using religion to infringe on the rights of their congregants. These churches also refused to give the commission access to their financial statements.
The commission’s investigation was prompted by outrage over church leaders that subjected congregants to controversial practices‚ such as spraying followers with Doom insecticide and forcing them to eat snakes.
“We were not fighting the commission. We have never fought any government institution. What we were fighting against is harassment‚ being summoned without being invited. Our religions were not respected‚” Radebe said.
He said the commission had come to him and asked for his church’s bank statement.
“Where were you when I started the church? Ask the relevant department to enquire‚” Radebe said.
Radebe said stories of the churches should be covered.
“Cover our stories‚ show us when snakes are eaten and people are Doomed‚ but at the same time be balanced. Show the good we do. You are misguiding the country. Engcobo. Let the law take its course. We are not Engcobo.”
The Seven Angels Ministries church in Encgobo has been accused of operating as a satanic cult and giving refuge to the suspects involved in a bloody shooting in February.
The association said its members would be assisted with proper registration of their churches with relevant statutory bodies.
Mantashe said the formation of the association would create another critical voice in South Africa that was important for the future of the country.