Fifty five churches have been registered since the Societies Act was amended early this year, amid controversial statements and counter accusations between churches and the government.
Minister of Labour and Home Affairs, Edwin Batshu, told Parliament yesterday that the recently amended Societies Act had not yet been implemented.
“In the meantime the ministry continued to register churches under the old Societies Act and a total of 55 churches have been registered since the amendment,” he said.
Batshu said the implementation of the amended Societies Act was delayed by the pending establishment of the Advisory and Arbitration Council and the review of Societies Regulations.
He said the establishment of the council and the review of the regulations were critical to the implementation of the amended law.
He explained that the delay in commencement was also as a result of an error of the Societies Act, which prescribed that membership of the council be drawn from the Non-Governmental Organisations Council instead of registered societies.
However Batshu said such error was corrected after a Societies Amendment Bill was presented before cabinet and was approved on November 11, 2015.
He was answering a question from Member of Parliament for Gaborone North, Hanskins Nkaigwa, who had wanted to know the number of churches that had registered since the amendment of the Act and whether the minister was satisfied with the progress.
The amended Societies Act requires, among other things, that a church must have 250 members to be registered.