by Sakhile Mokoena
The Mpumalanga provincial legislature this week accused churches of failing to promote human rights by banning discussions on sexual issues.
Speaking after a presentation for action on sexual rights, provincial chairman for the Sexual Rights Committee Jackson Mthembu said churches should play a role in educating the public.
"They engage in sexual activities but they don't want to speak about it," he said on Tuesday. "It is time for them to speak out and fight child molestation and women abuse."
The provincial council of churches said they had received an invitation to discuss the matter on February 26.
Council chairman Reverend Thembinkosi Fandaleki said discussing sexual issues went against the culture of the church.
"We will consider the call by legislature, but there is a big difference between worship and sex education," he said.
Fandaleki said they would hold special sexual rights awareness sessions in church but minors would not be allowed to attend.
The Sexual Rights Committee has meanwhile established an action campaign in response to President Thabo Mbeki's call to fight sexual abuse.
"We are the first in the country to respond to the president's call and we think we are on the right track," Mthembu said.
The campaign aims to alert the public, especially young children and women, to their rights through workshops, Indabas and by establishing local structures to educate the communities.
A men's forum will also be formed to establish why sexual violence is so prevalent.
"We need to speak to our men and see what is wrong with them and how we can help them if they need help," Mthembu said.