CRL Commission ignores minorities

In a recently published article – Pagans and Christians oppose CRL commission’s ‘state capture’ of religion – CRL Commission chairperson Thoko Mkhwanazi-Xaluva is reported to have stated:

“The participants in the hearings were part of a random sample. Only religions which were broadly represented at a percentage above 3% were part of the hearings. So in this case, size did matter,” she said.

“We already worked with Sapra concerning the witchcraft community. Their views were already canvassed,” said Mkhwanazi-Xaluva.”

It must be noted that submissions on the CRL Commission’s proposal to regulate religions and religious leaders were submitted to the Commission by both the South African Pagan Rights Alliance and the South African Pagan Council. These submission were ignored, and Pagans were not canvassed for our opinions on the proposal.

At no time has the Commission ever canvassed the opinion of SAPRA on the proposed regulation of religion!

SAPRA is disappointed by Mkhwanazi-Xaluva’s decision to ignore minority religions in this important consultation process – minority faiths will, after all, also be affected by the proposal to obligate all religious leaders and religions to submit to state regulation. Pagans have a constitutional right to equality and to equal representation in matters which affect us and our religious communities.

As a consequence of this denial of equal access, and grievous misrepresentation of the facts, this Alliance will be submitting a formal request to Parliament to remove the current Commissioner from her position.

Section 17. (1) A member of the Commission may be removed from office, but only if a committee of the National Assembly finds the member guilty of misconduct or rules that the member is incompetent or incapable of performing a member’s functions, and the National Assembly, in accordance with section 194(2)(b) of the Constitution, adopts a resolution calling for that member’s removal from office. (CRL Act)

The CRL Commission must protect, promote and defend the right to equality for all religions, not just those who have a majority. The Commissioner must perform the functions of her office in good faith and without prejudice.

The CRL Commissioner has failed in her statutory obligation to uphold sections 4(a) to (c) and 15(1)(a) of the Commission for the Promotion and Protection of the Rights of Cultural, Religious and Linguistic Communities Act. The Commissioner has demonstrated clear bias and intention to deny religious minorities the right to be heard on this matter.

Commission for the Promotion and Protection of the Rights of Cultural, Religious and Linguistic Communities Act

4. The objects of the Commission are-
(a) to promote respect for and further the protection of the rights of cultural, religious and linguistic communities;
(b) to promote and develop peace, friendship, humanity, tolerance and national unity among and within cultural, religious and linguistic communities, on the basis of equality, non-discrimination and free association;
(c) to foster mutual respect among cultural, religious and linguistic communities;

15. Conduct of members
(1) A member of the Commission –
(a) must perform the functions of office-
(i) in the spirit of furthering peace, friendship, humanity, tolerance and national unity among and within cultural, religious and linguistic communities, on the basis of equality, non-discrimination and free
association;
(ii) in good faith; and
(iii) without fear, favour or prejudice;

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Further reading:

Pagans say no to ‘regulation of religion’ proposal (SAPRA 31 October 2016)

Freedom of Religion SA takes CRL to court for defamation (FORSA 21 September 2017)

Churches in Uproar (Herald Live 23 September 2017)

Drawing the very fine line between church and state (Dispatch Live 30 September 2017)

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SAPRA