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Anglican clergy to be vetted by police

Publish date: 08 October 2018
Issue Number: 794
Diary: IBA Legalbrief Africa
Category: South Africa

In what The Mercury calls an unprecedented move to curb child abuse, the Anglican Church of SA has adopted new measures that include requesting police clearance for those who want to serve as its clergy. ‘In future, anyone wanting to be ordained to serve as clergy will have to provide a police clearance certificate,’ Archbishop Thabo Makgoba of Cape Town said last week. ‘From January, we will progressively enforce the same rule for lay ministers, especially those involved in youth ministry and Sunday school teaching,’ the bishop added. ‘At meetings held last week, our Synod of Bishops and our provincial standing committee – which includes clergy and lay people from every diocese in SA – had their first opportunity to discuss the reports of clergy abusing children which received widespread publicity earlier this year,’ Makgoba said. ‘Experienced lawyers and clergy serving on our Canon Law Council reported that our pastoral standards, which are incorporated into church law, set out a sound basis on which to handle complaints of abuse. But the council has said we need to make it easier for complainants to access procedures for laying complaints, and to provide better support for them along the way. In addition, the Canon Law Council emphasised to the Synod of Bishops that it is urgent and very important that every diocese set up a team to deal effectively with allegations of abuse,’ the bishop said.

Full report in The Mercury (subscription needed)