With South Africa tightening rules for governing religious bodies, the country's Hindu organisations have started workshops to ensure compliance with the new laws. South Africa's statutory Commission for Cultural, Religious and Language Rights has in recent months pointed out how many religious bodies in the country were run by individuals or groups who were not conversant with laws regulating its finances and human rights obligations to its members. In many instances, there are no proper records of donations received or membership contributions, with one prominent church leader even being arrested for fraudulent financial activities and engaging in other criminal actions. South African Hindu Maha Sabha (SAHMS) President Ashwin Trikamjee said the step was taken after requests poured in from religious bodies from across the country for compliance and governance workshops. "The majority of organisations seem to have problems with compliance of the laws," he said. "Now with the stringent Financial Intelligence Centre requirements, where banks will not open accounts without proper constitutions for religious bodies, who must have proper financial controls in place as well, this has placed huge responsibilities on the community-run organisations," Trikamjee said. He said besides the financial and legal requirements, they also explain the moral and ethical obligations of those running Hindu religious organisations. "The moral values and ethical principles are prescribed in the teachings of all religions, not just Hinduism, and we impress on those attending the workshops that these also need to be adhered to, alongside the legal obligations and requirements," Trikamjee added.
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