Presidential Spokesperson Khusela Diko says all protocols with regards to tracing and testing for the COVID-19 pandemic will be followed for everyone without exception. This follows confirmation by ACDP leader Kenneth Meshoe that he will be testing today after coming into contact with five international guests who later tested positive for the virus.
The five attended a church meeting with Meshoe in Bloemfontein between the 9th and the 11th of this month.
On Wednesday, a Meshoe attended a meeting in Parliament along with President Cyril Ramaphosa and other political parties.
While Moshoe says he is feeling fine, Diko says the Presidency will be monitoring developments.
Presidency Spokesperson, Khusela Diko says Meshoe is not showing any symptoms.
“Reverend Meshoe has not been diagnosed with coronavirus, nor is he exhibiting symptoms, thereof. He is subjecting himself to the necessary tests. At this point, he is well. He was in a meeting with the president on Tuesday. Should he test positive for the coronavirus then immediately it triggers that process where those who were in contact with him are then traced and are requested to subject themselves to self-isolation and later testing,” explains Diko.
Meanwhile, as churches scale down services due to the coronavirus, some are taking advantage of technology to reach their members. Government has issued guidelines prohibiting public gatherings of more than 100 people at a time.
Tshepo Phagane visited Soweto to check how churches are dealing with the new regulations; what measures they’ve put in place to deal with the virus, and how they ensure they keep worshipping with the cancellation of some services.
He found it was an unusual day of worship at most churches in Soweto with fewer members than usual. In some churches, members had to be turned away in order to adhere to the guidelines announced by the president, one of which prohibits public gatherings of more than 100 people at a time.
A pastor from the Life Changing Ministries in Meadowlands, who prefers anonymity, says it was one of the most difficult decisions he had to make.
“If it very difficult in a way that it is like you taking away something that someone lives with and to say you can’t worship God anymore because of this. It’s painful. I turned away a lot of people today. I would say today the maximum is 90,” says the pastor.
In this video, church leaders place measures against coronavirus
President of All African Federation Churches, Archbishop Nchime Tsekedi, says instead of turning away members, churches can have a couple of services in one day for as long as there’s 100 people at a time. He says their member-churches in the federation are now using WhatsApp to preach to their members by posting bible verses and short bible video messages.
“We have started and we encourage other people do to that to preach to them on social media. So, we can do that to preach,” says Nchime Tsekedi.
Pastor Justin Naidoo from Life Community church in Johannesburg is using YouTube to reach his faithful.
“Greetings in the name of the Lord Jesus Chris. During this time of quarantine and lockdown, I trust you will give yourself intimacy with the Lord. Quarantine is not something that the South African government installed. It is something installed in the Old Testament,” says Naidoo.
Some members of the congregation can relate to his preaching.
“Seeing our pastor on TV, we were able to connect with him. With many working and practicing social distance, it was a sense of normalcy and comfort hearing pastor,” says some member.
Even the elderly, who would have been very disappointed not being able to go to church because of the new restrictions, can now follow online.
Ntate Moloi hosts one of the most-listened-to church programmes on Soweto-based community radio station, JOZIFM. He says radio will be a key messenger as churches scale down on their services.
“As radio, at the end of the day we are the church of the people. The question is what is it that we are saying to people? What is it that we are preaching to people because we are the ultimate at this stage,” says Moloi.
Mam Mofutsanyane, from Regina Mundi Catholic church in Rockville, says their priest has told them they will be cancelling Sunday church services. She says she’ll gather her small church community, pray together at home or follow the mass on radio and television.
“We are going to radio Veritas, watch the pope online and pray in groups,” says Mofutsanyane.
Zionist leader Bishop Bheki Ngcobo calls for people to celebrate Easter Holiday:
Controversial Zionist leader Bishop Bheki Ngcobo says he stands by his call for congregants to go to in their numbers for the annual Easter pilgrimage even if it means that he will be arrested. Ngcobo’s statement is in defiance of President Cyril Ramaphosa’s ban on gatherings of more than 100 people.
About 80 members of Ngcobo’s church, the Inkanyezi Church of Christ, are currently meeting for their Sunday service at Dokodweni near Gingindlovu in northern KwaZulu-Natal. The church is also expected to finalise its Passover preparations on Sunday.
Ngcobo says he is encouraging people to go in numbers to pray for an end to the pandemic.