President Jacob Zuma has assured officials leading an inquiry into the commercialisation of religion in South Africa that the government would assess the security issues after the chairperson complained of threats‚ harassment‚ intimidation and insults.
Thoko Mkhwanazi-Xaluva‚ chairperson of the Commission for the Promotion and Protection of Cultural‚ Religious and Linguistic Communities (CRL)‚ said on Wednesday she had beefed up her security because of a concern over safety. She has also laid a criminal charge of intimidation‚ crimen injuria and incitement against Pastor Paseka “Mboro” Motsoeneng‚ who is among the charismatic pastors who have crossed swords with the commission during its inquiry.
Other members have also complained they have been threatened.
Zuma’s office said in a statement the president met with the leadership of the CRL commission this week‚ who presented him the report entitled “The Report of the Hearing on the Commercialization of Religion and Abuse of People’s Belief Systems“.
On Thursday‚ he appealed to all South Africans to respect Chapter 9 institutions‚ saying: “Chapter 9 institutions are one of the cornerstones of our democracy. They have been established to strengthen the country’s constitutional democracy and must be respected.”
“The leaders of these institutions must be given the space to exercise their powers and perform their functions without fear‚” said President Zuma.
The presidency said Zuma assured the commission of government’s support of their work of promoting diversity and social cohesion in the country.
The security matters raised by the commission are also being looked into‚ said the presidency statement.
It added: “The President‚ as the Head of State and head of the national executive‚ will ensure that the issues raised in the report will receive necessary attention.”