• Want regulation through a specific religious organisations law
• Say recent changes in Societies Act are a threat to the body of Christ
The Botswana Council of Churches (BCC) has called for establishment of a Religious Organisations Act because the Department of Civil and National Registration where Christian churches and other religious organisations currently register under the Societies Act is not an ideal place for them.
Apart from religious organisations the Department of Civil and National Registration registers miscellaneous associations, professional organisations, burial societies and recreational and sporting clubs, all of which are classified as non profit making organisations.
Making submissions before the Constitutional Review Commission last week, the Secretary General of BCC, Reverend Gabriel Tsuaneng, said their members want out of the Department of Civil and National Registration after concluding that their issues and interests are not being adequately served there.
“We propose that a new law, Religious Organisations Act, should be entrenched in the constitution which will adequately deal with the issues that affect religious bodies,” Tsuaneng said. He described amendments to the Societies Act this year as problematic, saying they are an existential threat to the body of Christ.
Under the controversial amendments, churches and other religious bodies are to register with the Financial Intelligence Agency, to report deposits of P10 000 and above, to apply KYC (Know Your Customer) on all their members, and to have formal qualifications in theology for pastors, among others.