The controversial Angel's Ministries Church in the Eastern Cape has been read the Riot Act. It's been told to adhere to the Constitution or its leaders will find themselves in jail.
The church appeared before the Commission for the Promotion and Protection of the Rights of Cultural and Linguistic Rights Communities (CRL Rights Commission) in Port Elizabeth.
After dodging provincial authorities and police, the Angel's Ministries received a Court Order to attend the public hearings. This after Social Development rescued 18 minor children from the church last month.
Its leaders revealed that just over 200 people live on the church premises. They also admitted that children are prevented from attending schoo - this in defiance of the constitution.
Banele Mancoba from Angel's Ministries Church says, "We are not going to obey anything from the Constitution we will carry on preaching what we are saying children must leave school. People must not listen to teachers or whatsoever because there is an intruder at school, there is a killing power inside the school, the evil spirit took over the school and so we are not working for the evil spirit. We are angels coming from heaven, we came here to fight."
The church leaders were warned that they would face the full might of the law for undermining the Constitution.
Chairperson of the commission, Thoko Mkhwanazi-Xavula says, "We are here telling you, you are skating on thin ice you don’t qualify for the protection if you are going away from the Constitution. The abandoning of the Constitution will find all seven angels wanting, while you are now on earth abide by the Constitution, respect the laws and register your church accordingly."
The commission says it will table its report to Parliament by April. It held countrywide public hearings to investigate the commercialisation of churches and the abuse and exploitation of people's beliefs.
The commission has asked social services and law officials to take action against any church breaking the law.
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