The South African Council of Churches (SACC) has appealed to church leaders across the country to comply with the restrictions that President Cyril Ramaphosa has announced to tackle the spread of the coronavirus.
South Africa has 150 confirmed cases, but no deaths.
Some church leaders have voiced their disapproval of the restrictions, which include social distancing and the banning of large gatherings.
The SACC held a meeting with Ramaphosa on Thursday.
The council’s General-Secretary Bishop Malusi Mpumlwana says they will adhere to the restrictions.
“We have got leaders that are making statements against the social distancing. The churches that refuse to do this they actually could face charges of life endangerment because that’s really what it is and you’re creating a situation where people will infect one another. Therefore we appeal to those naysayers who say it is never going to happen, please, this is God’s will that we should work together to make it happen.”
In the video below, SABC’s Simphiwe Makhanya reports on decision of the KZN Christian Council of Churches:
SA Zionist Churches to go ahead with Easter conference
The South African Zionist Churches is one of the church groups that will forge ahead with services this Easter.
The group has questioned why companies, which employ thousands of people, are still allowed to operate while a public ban prohibits thousands of the organisation’s members from gathering.
Spokesperson for the SA Zionist Churches Bishop Bheki Ngcobo says, “Why are companies still allowed to operate? They were given the precautions and those companies have more than a thousand workers in one building.”
“But only the church must not go and worship the Lord. I am not disputing what the President is saying because it is his country, but I do understand that in South Africa God is there. In our congregation, we agreed that we are going to worship the Lord in numbers,” explains Ngcobo.
In the video below, Bishop Ngcobo says this is a time for prayer:
Ramaphosa meets religious leaders
President Cyril Ramaphosa has encouraged people wanting to engage in religious activities to do so at their home, or in small groups.
Ramaphosa addressed religious leaders during a meeting in Pretoria on Thursday.
He has emphasised that no event is exempt from regulations on the national state of disaster, which bans gatherings of more than 100 people.
Some weddings, religious events and public gatherings are being halted as a result.
Ramaphosa says, “A number of faith communities have announced on their own that large communal services have been suspended or cancelled and either restructured to allow for smaller services or called on people to worship at home instead. We are encouraged by the on-going discussion among representative bodies to encourage worshippers to limit congregation sizes and to use alternative venues.”
In the video below, SABC’s Chriselda Lewis speaks about the meeting:
Below is an infographic of new stringent measures set out to stop spread of COVID-19: