EXPERTS have warned of a huge increase in cult churches popping up in Mzansi.
Yesterday, CRL chairman professor David Mosoma said at a virtual seminar if government doesn’t help those most affected by the pandemic, the country may see many cult churches in the future.
The commission had been bombarded by complaints from churchgoers ranging from sexual harassment and spiritual rape to financial abuse.
It unpacked the marks of occultists, described as charismatic leaders who lack empathy, are very arrogant and isolate their victims.
Experts said the victims get soft rules to begin with and a new identity.
Thereafter, they start telling them how to behave while depriving them of their rights and exploiting their security needs, both sexually and financially.
Sociologist Dr Alex Asakitikpi said occultists target people aged from 15 to 24 and those struggling economically.
“The gap between the rich and poor is becoming wider and people find themselves desperate for hope.
“We want to drive nice cars and have beautiful homes without working for them, making people vulnerable to cult.”
Psychiatrist Dr Lennart Eriksson said victims were captured by the promise of supernatural powers.
Prophet Jay Israel, described as a former occultist, said a cult is about money, power and sex.
“There are many cult churches. Those who’re abused will never come out and speak because they’re brainwashed. Strong action is needed.”
The experts said the churches will never go away, but balanced education and monitoring of hot spots can be enforced in communities.
The commission will share the information with Parliament for intervention.