Covenant Fellowship Church International representatives did not want its finances to be made public.
As a result, church leader Apostle Collins Dlomo made the Commission for the Promotion and Protection of the Rights of Cultural, Religious and Linguistic (CRL) Communities sign an undertaking that the church’s intellectual property would not be given to a third party.
Advocate Sibusisiwe Ngubane-Zulu, who deals with legal matters for the church, told the commission investigating the abuse of people’s belief systems that the documents given to the commission were confidential.
The CRL rights commission summonsed several leaders to appear before it in Durban.
“This file contains very confidential and very important information about the church, which we could not have released to any party other than a highly legal institution like this.
“We have prepared a letter that we would like you to sign,” said the church’s coordinating committee member Muzi Ntombela on Monday.
But commission chairwoman Thoko Mkhwanazi-Xaluva warned them that the court had already ruled that the hearings were open to the public.
She said the commission would sign the declaration, however.
“The media people will take you and the commission to court. Do not be surprised when you get something from their lawyers.”
Ntombela said the church would deal with the matter if and when they were taken to court.
Mkhwanazi-Xaluva said the church was raising suspicions by declaring that they did not want their finances to be made public.
“We have seen numbers 100 times what you have here,” she said to chuckles.
Dlomo and his team said the church was involved in many community outreach programmes, including a home-based care centre for people with HIV. It makes money from offerings, tithes and seeding.
Dlomo lambasted church leaders who make people eat snakes in the name of God.
“We do not support the abuse of people’s belief systems. Hence we say that foreign pastors who come to our country should have credit checks done on them,” he said.