JOHANNESBURG - The controversial pastor whose congregants ate snakes has failed to appear before the Commission for the Protection of Cultural and Religious Rights.
The Chapter 9 institution is investigating the alleged commercialisation of religion and the abuse of beliefs.
While many church leaders have appeared before the commission, the so-called ‘snake pastor’ is still missing.
Penuel Mnguni is one of several religious leaders who's being asked to account for his church's practices.
“We have requested the police, including radio, media people to help us track this man," said Prof David Mosoma, Deputy CRL chairperson.
"Since he left Soshanguve, we can’t really get him, he’s very elusive, so to speak. But I suppose he’s somewhere in South Africa.
Those who advertise healing through faith have also come under scrutiny for false advertising.
“We don’t know what is it that they bring, if it’s regulated or not. They just open up their rooms anywhere and everywhere," said Fred Makgatho, Legal and Regulatory Head, Advertising Standards Authority.
"You find that the pamphlet have five numbers, you call them they answer and they drop. We even tried to bring in the JMPD to say we have issues. And we know that some of their practices they bring harm to our people, they take their money and run away."
The International Pentecostal Healing Church has been singled out for criticism.
It's one of the few churches in the country that allows polygamous marriage.
The church says its open to investigation.
“We’re happy with the process, we understand exactly what they are looking for," said the church's Modise Isaac Mosalakae.
"The church is transparent, we’ve got nothing to hide. We are satisfied with the information we’ve provided and what they asked us.”
The commission's hearings now move to KwaZulu-Natal.
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