Freedom of Religion SA (For SA) has lodged court papers in the High Court in Johannesburg to demand the lifting of the ban on faith-based gatherings.
The organisation wants the court to suspend the national lockdown regulations as it feels religion is communal.
Under Level 3 lockdown regulations, religious gatherings are prohibited, while other gatherings at places such as casinos and gyms are still allowed.
The organisation’s spokesperson Pastor Michael Swain says government has not provided them with any scientific data to prove that church gatherings are super spreader events of the coronavirus.
Swain says, “What is the difference between sitting in a casino side by side with somebody at a slot machine or sitting with somebody side by side in listening to a message. It becomes very difficult to start to say one is a super spreader and the other one is not, and the fact that all faith-based gatherings have been banned means literally two people cannot pray together. It’s crazy to think that therefore we can sit side by side in a casino playing the slot machine but if we then decide to pray together that suddenly becomes illegal.”
Below is the full interview with Ps. Swain:
Under Level 3 lockdown, most indoor and outdoor gatherings are not permitted, this includes social gatherings, religious gatherings, political events, traditional council meetings and gatherings at sports grounds.
This does not include funerals and other limited exceptions as detailed in the regulations, such as restaurants, museums and gyms.
Funerals may not be attended by more than 50 people, and there needs to be social distancing, hand sanitising and mask-wearing.
INFOGRAPHIC: Amended Level 3 lockdown regulations: