Poverty, vulnerability and social media help breed unscrupulous pastors - study

Research by the Commission for the Promotion and Protection of the Rights of Cultural, Religious and Linguistic Communities into the “Commercialisation of Churches” found that people were increasingly vulnerable to unscrupulous pastors because of the double burden of poverty in a time when conspicuous consumption is rife.

The Commission's Thoko Mkhwanazi-Xaluva says people who brag about their achievements should be conscious of the damage they might cause to others.

Part of what we discovered in our study with Unisa to look at the vulnerability of communities was that the more others seem to have the more desperate communities become. Part of their desperation becomes the vulnerability and gullibility.

Thoko Mkhwanazi-Xaluva, CRL Rights Commission chairperson

While others are flaunting their worthy on social media, other people are asking themselves why is my life so miserable when others are living like that.

Thoko Mkhwanazi-Xaluva, CRL Rights Commission chairperson

So, when pastors come to them and say, 'you know you can also live that kind of life if I spray you with doom or you give me money', people become vulnerable because they see you.

Thoko Mkhwanazi-Xaluva, CRL Rights Commission chairperson

You contribute to the vulnerability of others who are forced into situations due to their problems. You become part of that narrative of why people are exploited.

Thoko Mkhwanazi-Xaluva, CRL Rights Commission chairperson

South African has seen a number of celebrities showing-off on social media.

Rapper Cassper Nyovest posted a picture of himself standing on top of his two Bentleys, worth a combined amount of over R7 million. AKA recently shared he was flying on business class to Thailand for a holiday.

Government must do what government needs to do to improve people's lives. But as individuals we also need to start saying can't I help a family that is poor, although I'm not the cause.

Thoko Mkhwanazi-Xaluva, CRL Rights Commission chairperson

Listen to the full interview below...


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