Media Statements

CoGTA Urges Restraint and Religious Tolerance Amid Challenges in the Sector

The Ministry of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (CoGTA) is responsible for coordinating the interfaith sector which support government in its endeavour to strengthen social cohesion and nation building. To this effect, Minister van Rooyen has expressed concern over the recent challenges where some within this sector attack each other and institutions created to ensure the protection and promotion of religious rights and freedoms.

The right to freedom of religion is enshrined in the Constitution of South Africa. Chapter 2 of the Constitution of South Africa which contains the Bill of Rights, states that everyone has the right to freedom of religion, belief and opinion. It is within this context that Minister van Rooyen urges religious tolerance and for the sector to discuss issues of mutual consent or challenges amongst themselves and not through public platforms or media.

Minister cited an example of the recent media publications attacking the Zion Christian Church and its leadership. The publications of such bad articles about churches and the entire sector tarnishes the image of this important institution and compromise the role of religious institutions. Such attacks and misunderstanding affecting the religious sector can also undermine these important sector.

It is important to indicate that the church is important to South Africa as it plays an important role in bringing our country together especially as we strive to build a cohesive society. A number of churches are involved in community development projects and others provide funding for students to complete their studies. This types of support will go a long way in ensuring that the country moves forward. Minister van Rooyen thanked the sector for contributing positively to relationship building as the country strive to archiving positive values that we continue striving for.

As the sector is faced with a number of complex contextual challenges, including how we deal with the CRL rights commission report, there is a need for tolerance. Those within this sector requires a great deal of courage and faithfulness of our faith in an effort to continue making a positive impact on society.

The Minister is calling on all South Africans throughout this sector to join hands in an effort to address any challenges that exist. “We are confident that this important sector is one of the catalysts that will assist in moving our country forward, contributing to its development and that of its people”, concluded Minister van Rooyen.

 Media Enquiries

Legadima Leso

CoGTA Communications

Cell: 083 378 9495