The Presiding Officer of the Methodist Church, Bishop Purity Malinga, says the availability of vaccines against the coronavirus is a sign of hope and one of the good news stories to tell this Easter. Bishop Malinga was delivering the sermon during a virtual Easter Sunday Service broadcast on SABC 2, hosted by the South African Council of Churches (SACC) and its member churches.

She stressed that vaccination should not be discriminatory.

The Bishop says despite all the darkness the country is faced with, there is hope.

“We have seen the darkness of corruption, Gender-Based Violence, poverty, hunger; the list goes on. While it is still dark friends. As Easter people, we do not despair; we do not lose hope. Rather we lift up the signs of hope as we see because Jesus is alive. We find courage in lifting up any sign of hope that we see. It is because of the good news of Easter that we lift up vaccination as a sign of hope, calling for it to be made available to all; whether they are rich or poor,” she says.

The Vice President of the South African Council of Churches, Reverend Frank Chikane, gave recognition to frontline healthcare workers who put their lives at risk to save the lives of COVID-19 patients. He was delivering the Benediction and gave concluding remarks at the service.

“Our frontline workers risked their lives daily to safe our lives. But one thing is certain that God we believe in is a God who’s always present with us. He was forsaken on the Cross so that we never get forsaken. Jesus is Emmanuel,- that is God with us.

Our God is also an all knowing God,- an omniscient God. God knows what we are going through and knows how to make up for our loss. God knows how to heal us from the ravages of life and the coronavirus. Our God is all powerful and he is able to save us and be with us under difficult circumstances,” Chikane said.

Also speaking at the event, SACC Secretary General, Bishop Malusi Mpumlwana, said the last year was a year of helplessness against the coronavirus. Bishop Mpumlwana says Easter brings hope despite the challenges the country is facing due to the pandemic.

“Praise be to the God and father to our Lord Jesus Christ. In his great mercy, he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. It is to that hope that we come this morning. We have come through a year of grief, anxiety, of fear and distress, year of exasperation and a sense of helplessness against the COVID-19 pandemic.

In faith on Good Friday, we consciously mounted these troubles on the cross of the crucified Christ. This morning we come to celebrate the resurrection of our Lord with restored faith and confidence of the power of live over death,” he said.

Concerns over slow vaccine rollout

Speaking during the Easter Vigil Service, which was held at St George’s Cathedral, in Cape Town, Anglican Archbishop Thabo Makgoba raised concern over the government’s slow COVID-19 vaccine rollout programme, especially in poor and marginalised communities.

Discussion on SA’s vaccination process with Prof Tulio de Oliveira: 

Makgoba says he is skeptical about how long it will take to administer vaccines across the country.

“We know very well that there are large areas of our country where political corruption has poisoned public healthcare systems. Shame on those who have left hospitals and clinics short of people, equipment and protection. I have read that on the current strategy it would take 18-years to vaccinate our entire present population! We cannot allow that to happen,” he added.

So far, 269 102 healthcare workers have been vaccinated the country prepares for the second phase  of the programme.