PRESIDENT Jacob Zuma says South Africa is a secular country and religious leaders will not be given a "special dispensation" to influence any new laws.
Zuma told Parliament that his government would not allow a situation where before passing laws it would make a special appeal to the religious leaders to comment on them.
"I don't say that before we make the laws, as Parliament we should say to the leadership of religion, 'come please'.
"Any citizen is free to make comments on the laws. If they don't come, they don't come," Zuma said.
He said that he did not want a case where, after laws have been made, "you then have them (religious leaders) complaining".
"The point is where were they? We don't have to say we give them a special dispensation," Zuma said.
His comment comes amid reports that Zuma was shunning the South African Council of Churches in favour of a new religious group led by controversial Rhema Church leader Ray McCauley.
The McCauley group is known for its fundmentalist attitude towards issues such as legalised abortion.