The Twelve Apostles Church in Christ (TACC) has held an intimate funeral for its Mother President at Phowulini village, near Ngqeleni in the Eastern Cape.

Only 49 people, including caterers, security guards and mourners attended the funeral service.

In the video, government expresses concern over the spread of COVID-19 at funerals:

Sixty-seven-year old Nonkqubela Nongqunga died five days ago and was laid to rest on Sunday.

The provincial government recently expressed concern about funerals that seem to contribute to the spread of the coronavirus.

For rural communities, it is now beginning to sink in that COVID-19 kills. A normal funeral for one of the leaders of TACC would attract tens of thousands of mourners.

However, due to lockdown regulations the church, which has over six million estimated members decided to limit the numbers. The service was streamed live online for those who could not attend in person.

Family Spokesperson, Mluleki Nongqung says their members were told not to attend.

“We saw the replications that COVID-19 is doing in other countries and now starting to do in our continent and country. We would not like to play part in the transmission of the coronavirus. We would like people to abide by the law because we are law-abiding christians. That is why there was a circular from the church, even from us as the family, to say church people must stay away from this gathering. That is why we had only 10 of them that came here to officiate. We don’t want to be a family where people can come here and become sick,” says Nongqunga.

The family and the church plan to hold a proper memorial service after the coronavirus threat has passed.

Nongqunga says it’s sad that some of the family members could not attend the funeral service due to lockdown regulations.

“It’s very painful for us because our mother has worked very hard for the community in South Africa and in other countries also. Now, to limit people that would come and pay their respect it was a very painful thing. It is not a nice thing for us to do. But it’s a must. Our mother died on the 14th but now, a few days after that, we had to bury her because we do not want people to come here and make prayers and in that prayer session leave with an infection,” says Nongqunga.

One of the elders of the family, Lungisile Mavume, says they have suffered a huge blow.

“My sister in law was one of those people in this family that has got everything that you need in a woman. She was one of those special people that knows God. When you start getting in that house, it was not difficult for her to say ‘Let’s pray’. I don’t know what to say because at the end of the day this thing is so touchy. We lost a mother. We lost everything, I mean in the family. She was just everything,” says Mavume.

Meanwhile, Health MEC Sindiswa Gomba plans to submit a formal proposal to Premier Oscar Mabuyane to propose that only family members and employees from the funeral parlour should attend funerals to contain the spread of the virus.

In this video, Eastern Cape Premier Oscar Mabuyane discusses funerals during lockdown