My colleagues and I often care for patients suffering from hallucinations, prophesying, and claiming to speak with God, among other symptoms—in mental health care, it’s sometimes very difficult to tell apart religious belief from mental illness…. Our conclusions frequently stem from the behaviors we see before us. Take an example of a man who walks into an emergency department, mumbling incoherently. He says he’s hearing voices in his head, but insists there’s nothing wrong with him. He hasn’t used any drugs or alcohol. If he were to be evaluated by mental health professionals, there’s a good chance he might be diagnosed with a psychotic disorder like schizophrenia. But what if that same man were deeply religious? What if his incomprehensible language was speaking in tongues?
The Commissions Act provides that once a commission has been appointed, the President may confer upon that commission the power to summon and examine witnesses, to administer oaths and affirmations and to call for the production of books, documents and objects.Failure to comply with a subpoena issued by a commission is a punishable offence. If these powers are not conferred, the commission will have no powers beyond those enjoyed by any individual or state agency conducting an investigation. The Commissions Act may only be made applicable to a commission of inquiry if it is investigating a matter of public concern…. Making the Commissions Act applicable to a commission of inquiry therefore ensures that a commission can call witnesses and obtain the production of documents and objects on pain of punishment. Nevertheless, a commission remains an investigative body whose primary responsibility is to report to the President upon its findings. A commission is generally not entitled or empowered to take any action as a result of its findings. – The Constitutional Court in the judgment of President of the Republic of South Africa v SARFUBACK TO TOP