South African Home Affairs Minister Dr Aaron Motsoaledi’s has announced that work permits and permanent resident status for foreign nationals who are religious workers has been stopped.
Motsoaledi said that foreign national religious workers will no longer be eligible for work permits or permanent residency in the country.
An announcement that has been received with mixed emotions. But to many, accountability is key.
“It’s a matter of discussions as to how best we can protect the system and also make sure that religion is not used as a tool for criminal activities or for robbing people of their hard earned cash.”
“This is caused by charlatans and some false prophets who come to SA masquerading as men of God, took advantage of people in the name of religion and the Church. Yes definitely they need to get some part of the blame but it’s really unfortunate that the Home Affairs took that decision”, says Solomon Izang Ashoms of Movement Against Abuse in Churches
Some organisations have cautioned the department against painting all foreign national as religious workers with the same brush, but others say the decision won’t also harm missionary work in the country.
The exponential growth of a number of churches in the country over the years has came with challenges to an extent that the Commission for the Promotion and Protection of the Rights of Cultural, Religious and Linguistic Communities had to intervene.