Die implikasies van grondwetlik-gewaarborgde godsdiensvryheid vir die arbeidsregtelike posisie van predikante en ander geestelikes

Fourie, Pieter,1951- (2002-03)

Thesis (MBA)--Stellenbosch University, 2002.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: One of the biggest revolutions in the United States, equal to the political revolution by which that country came into being, concerns a change in people's concept of God. In this context, freedom of religion came to playa fundamental role in society. In the United States religious freedom means that that country's central power should be completely neutral towards religion. This view is criticised as being the result of just another philosophical presupposition, called "secular individualism:" According to this view, state and church (or religion) are rigidly separated. Religion is viewed as an "irrational power", and should be limited to private life only. The South African Constitution did not follow this route. The state is not expected to be secular. It may even create circumstances conducive to the promotion of religion, although it should remain neutral towards specific religions. In South Africa religious freedom entails the acknowledgement of a group right, an important aspect of democracy, as long as the exercise of this right contributes towards tolerance and cultural openness. The premise is that the exercise of collective group values can play an important role to inspire people towards embracing human rights (which lie at the heart of the Constitution) as a core value of their social morality. I also deal with the problem of the limitation of this group right. Religious freedom further entails that the courts should not embark on judging in the theological and doctrinal conflicts of religious groups. However, churches cannot withdraw themselves from the ambit of the courts' authority, although this authority never allows for a decision about the internal dogmatic affairs of churches, It only applies to its administrative legal acts, particularly concerning the position of its paid officials. I further deal with the church as a legal entity, and confront the problem of the South African jurisprudence that treats the church as a mere voluntary organisation. The thesis is that the church is a legal entity sui generis. In other word, the church's legal status emanates from within, and is not bestowed upon it. From a legal point of view; the church should primarily be judged on the basis of its own ecclesiastical statutes. Thereafter I discuss the labour law position of ministers, referring to a number of labour court cases in which ministers were involved. The conclusion is that a minister is not an employee in the ordinary, legal sense of the word, but rather an independent contractor or atypical worker. The nature of his work is such that his divine calling not only encompasses his working life, but his whole life, in the service of God as his employer. As such, the minister's position is fundamentally different from that of an ordinary employee. I take the position that this view is the best way of expressing the church's uniqueness, constitutionally guaranteed, as well as the theological dimension of the church as a unique communal body. Against the minister's possible vulnerability towards exploitation and possible loss of his or her livelihood, he or she enjoys a constitutional as well as an administrative law guarantee.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Een van die grootste revolusies in die VSA soortgelyk aan die politieke revolusie waardeur Amerika tot stand gekom het, raak mense se Godsopvatting. In dié konteks speel die begrip godsdiensvryheid 'n fundamentele rol. In die VSA beteken godsdiensvryheid dat dié land se sentrale gesag heeltemal neutraal is teenoor godsdiens. Die kritiek hierop is dat so 'n opvatting voortkom uit 'n spesifieke filosofiese voorveronderstelling, naamlik "sekulêre individualisme". Hierin word staat en kerk (of godsdiens) rigied van mekaar geskei en die invloed van godsdiens as 'n "irrasionele mag" slegs tot die privaatlewe beperk. In Suid-Afrika volg die Grondwet nie dieselfde weg nie. Van die staat word nie verwag om sekulêr te wees nie. Dit mag selfs omstandighede skep om godsdiens te bevorder, alhoewel dit neutraal teenoor spesifieke godsdienste moet wees. Binne die Suid-Afrikaanse opset beteken godsdiensvryheid dus erkenning aan 'n groepsreg, wat 'n vername aspek van demokrasie is, solank die beoefening van dié groepsreg bydra tot toleransie en kulturele openheid. Die premisse is dat die beoefeninq van kollektiewe groepswaardes 'n belangrike rol kan speel om mense te inspireer om ook menseregte (die hart van die Grondwet) as 'n kernwaarde van hulle sosiale moraliteit te aanvaar. Die probleem is of beperkings op hierdie groepsreg ooit geoorloof sou wees. Godsdiensvryheid beteken verder dat die howe nie tot die beoordeling van die dogmatiese en teologiese twispunte van godsdienstige groepe mag toetree nie. Die kerk kan homself egter nie aan die gesag van die howe onttrek nie, alhoewel dié gesag nooit vir 'n beslissing oor die interne dogmatiese sake van die kerk geld nie, maar net vir sy administratief-regtelike handelinge - in die besonder waar dit die diensposisie van die kerk se betaalde ampsdraers aangaan. Ek handel verder oor die kerk as regspersoon en konfronteer die probleem dat die Suid-Afrikaanse regspraak die kerk bloot as 'n vrywillige organisasie sien. Die tese is dat die kerk 'n regspersoonlikheid sui generis is. Dus kom die kerklike regspersoonlikheid eintlik vanuit die kerk self voort. Regsvrae binne die kerk moet dus primêr aan die hand van sy eie statuut of Kerkorde beoordeel word. In die lig van die voorafgaande bespreek ek vervolgens die arbeidsregtelike posisie van die predikant na aanleiding van verskeie arbeidshofsake, en bevind dat hy of sy nie in 'n kontraktuele diensverhouding staan nie, maar eerder 'n onafhanklike kontrakteur of 'n a-tipiese werker is. Die aard van die predikant se werk as Godsgeroepene omvat nie net die arbeidslewe nie, maar die hele lewe wat hy of sy onder die beheer van sy of haar Werkgewer stel. Dit maak dat die predikant se posisie fundamenteel van dié van 'n gewone werknemer verskil. Ek handhaaf die posisie dat dié standpunt die beste gestalte gee aan die uniekheid van die kerk wat deur middel van grondwetlike godsdiensregte gewaarborg word, asook die teologiese dimensie van die kerk as 'n unieke samelewingsverband. In die aangesig van moontlike uitbuiting is die predikant se lewensonderhoud of "traktement" egter gewaarborg in soverre hy of sy 'n grondwetlike sowel as 'n administratief-regtelike aanspraak op 'n billike bedeling binne die kerk het.

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