Zion Church’s finances to remain private
Polokwane - The Commission for the Promotion and Protection of the Rights of Cultural, Religious and Linguistic Communities has said it will not divulge the Zion Christian Church’s (ZCC) financial affairs.
The commission told a media briefing in Polokwane on Tuesday that it was not their practice to reveal the finances of church bodies.
Commission chairperson, Thoko Mkhwanazi-Xaluva, said some church leaders were staying away from the commission’s national hearings because they feared that their financial status would be revealed.
Since we started the hearing, we have never ever divulged the financials, hence we assured them that their financials would be handled with care, said Mkhwanazi-Xaluva.
The Commission is conducting public hearings as part of efforts to investigate the commercialisation of churches and the abuse and exploitation of people’s beliefs, this after reported human rights violations including congregants at some churches made to participate in bizarre and and humiliating rituals.
On Tuesday, the commission shot down media questions addressed to ZCC leader Bishop Barnabas Lekganyane and his entourage.
Responding to the questions, Mkhwanazi-Xaluva said: “There is no need to be agitated as the issue is that the financial information is only divulged by the church itself and the media will have to go with what the church says.”
She said that if the media was interested in knowing the church’s financial status, the media should approach the court and see if its request would be granted.
“From our side, we don’t do that,” she emphasised.
Lekganyane was summoned to appear before the commission to provide an account of how the church is run.
The leader of the largest church in Southern Africa arrived at the hearing driving himself, followed by members of his entourage. At least 13 people accompanied him to the hearing.
The church members offloaded a stack of files from the church’s vehicle and distributed them to the commission members.
Dressed in a lavish suit, Lekganyane’s inner circle of men helped him to explain the position of the church.
Presenters said the church had established many commercial wings within the church for the benefit of its members.
The ZCC revealed that it owned a number of insurance businesses and was also involved in social security programmes.
However, Lekganyane was not asked questions around how much the church has in its bank accounts and he did not reveal how much the church was worth.
Lekganyane did say that it was becoming harder to believe some miracles and he denounced church leaders who abused their congregants.
Without mentioning names, Lekganyane said: “I believe that Jesus Christ could make miracles, but today’s people … I don’t think so. Only God can make you to make miracles, so it’s difficult to say that people can perform miracles or not.”
He said that church leaders should not abuse the beliefs of their congregants.African News Agency Use IOL’s Facebook and Twitter pages to comment on our stories. See links below.