Freedom of Religion South Africa (FOR SA) says although it welcomes President Cyril Ramaphosa’s announcement to allow faith-based gatherings, it will still go to court today.
The organisation lodged papers in the High Court in Johannesburg last week, demanding that government’s ban on faith-based gatherings be lifted.
Ramaphosa says that faith-based gatherings will be permitted subject to health protocols. No more than 50 people will be allowed to gather in indoor venues and 100 people at outdoor venues.
Freedom for Religion South Africa’s executive director, Michael Swain, says the ban amounted to unfair discrimination against the religious sector and a gross violation of people’s right to religious freedom.
“Well the matter is no longer urgent, it will be heard this morning in court and we will obviously take consideration regarding the outcomes of that particular hearing and decide where and how to pursue it. We believe the case will at some measure go forward because it is very important for the future that if government does decide to limit and restrict religious freedom rights particularly if restricted more than other rights that they must be rational, equitable and evidence and risk based and science led,” he says.
Below is a January interview with Pastor Swain after they lodged papers in court:
‘Restrictions shouldn’t last longer than necessary’
During his address to the nation last night, President Ramaphosa said restrictions shouldn’t continue any longer than necessary, as hospital admissions have also gone down.
“Let us remember that despite the clear progress we’ve made, the number of new cases is still high and there is an ever present danger of a resurgence. It’s therefore necessary to maintain the country on level [three]. Social gatherings and gatherings at sports ground will not be permitted. This does not include religious gatherings and funerals,” explained the President.
The President addresses the nation in the video below: