The South African Hindu Maha Sabha has announced plans to regulate Hindu priests in the country amid growing concerns over alleged exploitation and abuse by priests.
The South African Hindu Maha Sabha has asked all temples in the country to submit qualifications of the priests for consideration by its Priests' Accreditation Committee, which will be accredited by the government-run South African Qualifications Authority.
"We have received reports of people posing as priests and duping people who put their trust and faith in them. It is this type of priest who taints the name of all Hindu priests, especially when their activities are highlighted in the media and even brought to court sometimes," Sabha President Ashwin Trikamjee said.
He said the committee was established after receiving complaints of priests conducting rituals with naive devotees in questionable ways, charging exorbitant fees for ceremonies.
"I must emphasise immediately that there are many priests undertaking their duties in honest and very commendable ways across South Africa," Trikamjee said.
The Sabha plans to draft a syllabus with a common approach to learning, irrespective of differing religious beliefs or linguistic differences within the Hindu community.