Faith Groups Engage with the Deputy Minister of Justice on the PEPUDA Bill

Freedom for Religion South Africa (FORSA) had requested a meeting with the Deputy Minister of Justice to discuss the PEPUDA Bill. Eighteen participants from various faith groups and personnel from the Department of Justice attended the virtual meeting on the 7th July 2021. The Deputy Minister had the opportunity to listen first hand, to concerns raised by faith communities. It is estimated that the Department has received approximately 150 000 submissions objecting to the PEPUDA Bill. The avalanche of submissions has clearly demonstrated to the Department of Justice that the faith community is dismayed at the attempted imposition of a straitjacket ideology which may promote conflict rather than reduce it. The Deputy Minister was somewhat perturbed that the invitation to comment on the Bill had been used instead, to carry out a referendum. He however intimated that a clause may be included in the Bill which will provide specific protection of religious rights. It remains to be seen what this will consist of and the level of protection it will give to those who give public expression to the teachings of their faith.