Commission to investigate ‘commercialised religion’

Officials say they will also probe established churches.

FILE: The probe has been sparked by a man called the snake pastor, who convinced his followers he was performing miracles by making them eat rats, and snakes. Picture: Supplied/EWN..

JOHANNESBURG - The Commission for the Promotion and Protection of Cultural, Religious and Linguistic Communities (CRL Commission) says it's going to investigate what it calls "commercialised religion".

The probe has been sparked by a man called the snake pastor, who convinced his followers he was performing miracles by making them eat rats, and snakes.

Officials said they will also probe established churches.

The commissions acting CEO Edward Masadza said, "We will actually focus on how certain religious sectors use particular miracles that we think people are not convinced in terms of doing what they are supposed to do, but because of certain underlying factors."

A week ago leaders of the Jesuit, Muslim and Scientology religions said they would oppose any attempts to regulate them, while theologians said it was impossible to actually have laws that controlled religious bodies.

The CRL Commission Chairperson Thoko Xaluva said she wanted to propose that religions were regulated to stop people like the Penuel 'snake pastor' Mnguni in Soshanguve.