Gauteng churches go cashless due to spate of robberies

Reading Time: 4 minutes

In response to a series of alarming armed robberies targetting places of worship, a significant decision was reached during a meeting between Gauteng Community Safety MEC and representatives from various Faith-based Organizations.

The meeting, held in Boksburg yesterday, saw a resolution emphasising the potential adoption of card payments and electronic fund transfers (EFTs) as viable alternatives to cash transactions within churches across Gauteng.

The urgent need for this resolution was prompted by the recent tragic incident that claimed the life of Pastor Dwayne Gordon during a church service in Newlands, Johannesburg, last month.

The senseless act of violence, which also resulted in injuries to several congregants, highlighted the vulnerability of religious institutions to criminal activity.

At the meeting, which included three dedicated breakout sessions, participants engaged in comprehensive discussions on the escalating concerns surrounding security in places of worship. The deliberations culminated in the collective agreement that proactive measures were necessary to combat the scourge of crime that has instilled fear and uncertainty within the community.

Churches and residents in shock after a Newlands pastor was gunned down: 

MEC Mazibuko underscored the shared commitment to addressing the growing challenges of crime in churches, emphasising the need for proactive and sustainable solutions to ensure the safety and well-being of congregants.

The proposed transition to cashless transactions within churches is viewed as a strategic step toward enhancing security measures and minimising the risk of criminal activity.

“All of us are in agreement that we must confront this wave of criminal activity that is terrorising our places of worship. We have unanimous consensus on the need to take decisive action in this regard, and one of the proposed strategies is the move towards cashless transactions within churches,” stated Mazibuko.

As discussions progress, the focus remains on implementing effective security protocols and fostering a secure environment within religious institutions, highlighting the pivotal role of collaboration and proactive initiatives in addressing the prevailing challenges of safety and security.

The video below reports more on a manhunt for the pastor’s killers:

While the proposal to transition to cashless transactions within churches as a response to the recent surge in armed robberies has gained traction, Pastor Emmanuel Mohlala has emphasised that this measure alone may not fully address the multifaceted challenges faced by religious institutions.

Highlighting the diverse targets of criminal activity, including valuable equipment and property such as cellphones, keyboards, amplifiers, and vehicles, Pastor Mohlala stressed the need for a comprehensive approach to security.

“Cash is not the only concern for these criminals. Valuable church equipment and vehicles are also targeted. Merely transitioning to cashless transactions will not suffice in addressing these complex security threats,” asserted Mohlala.

Additionally, Pastor Mohlala recommended enhanced information sharing among faith-based leaders to promote greater awareness and understanding of emerging crime trends. The proposed collaborative effort seeks to facilitate an exchange of insights and best practices, enabling churches to remain vigilant and proactive in the face of evolving security challenges.

“Greater awareness and education about new crime trends within churches are crucial. By sharing our experiences and knowledge, we can collectively strengthen our defences and safeguard our congregations. It is essential to recognize that different areas may face varying threats,” emphasised Mohlala.

Among the recommendations put forth during the meeting, the collaborative involvement of religious institutions with community policing forums, as well as increased police patrols and the deployment of crime wardens in places of worship, were highlighted as crucial steps in bolstering security measures. The installation of CCTV cameras, metal detectors, and the enlistment of armed response services were also encouraged to enhance the overall safety and security of church premises.

However, the event has faced criticism from some faith leaders, including Sangoma Lawrence Motsepe, who expressed dissatisfaction, citing perceived bias towards churches in the discussions. Motsepe underscored the importance of fostering inclusivity and ensuring equitable representation in efforts to address security challenges, advocating for a holistic approach that encompasses the diverse needs and perspectives of all religious communities.

No one has been arrested yet for the murder of Pastor Gordon.