Lethebo Rabalago, also known as the Doom pastor, sprays Doom on a congregant's face. File Picture.
Rebuke of the CRL Rights Commission and its chairperson by religious leaders has resulted in a summit that seeks to find solutions to a sector described as being in crisis.

On Wednesday, leaders of the country's major religions converged at Rhema Bible Church in Randburg to discuss key recommendations - including the establishment of a regulatory religious body - stemming from a 2017 CRL Rights Commission report which chiefly investigated the commercialisation of religion and abuse of people's belief systems.

Subsequent to the report's release, parliamentary hearings were held, where it was resolved that the religious sector should convene a summit to pursue, among others, the establishment of a peer-review mechanism to monitor the industry and prevent abuses.

Yesterday, CRL Rights Commission chairperson Thoko Mkhwanazi-Xaluva said the view of abuses being isolated incidents within the church was incorrect, and advocated for self-regulation.

“People say the allegations against (rape-accused pastor Tim) Omotoso are isolated. Those of us who work in this sector can tell you that these allegations are not isolated," she said.

Pastor Ray McCauley of Rhema, who was the summit's convener, said the commission's report had highlighted a crisis within the religious sector.

“The findings are embarrassing us. I'm still embarrassed by the crisis in the church... We were making headlines for all the wrong reasons,” McCauley said.

He said religious leaders were “best placed to chart a way forward, with the assistance of the CRL Rights Commission”.

However, this was rejected by breakaway committees, where delegates resoundingly opposed the commission's involvement in the activities of the religious sector.

Reading a report from the legal and constitutional framework committee, renowned theologian Professor Barney Pityana said delegates found that the commission “has shown itself exceeding its mandate”.

Pastors who spoke to The Star on condition of anonymity labelled Mkhwanazi-Xaluva as “anti-Christian”, stressing that her CRL Rights Commission should let the sector figure out its issues without her.