Religious sector gears up to challenge possible restrictions over Easter weekend

Johannesburg – Leaders in the religious sector want East worship services to go ahead, despite concerns over the third wave of increased Covid-19 infections.

Churches and other places of worship are waiting for the government to announce whether larger gatherings would be allowed or if lockdown restrictions will be tightened again.

Last year, not long after the country imposed level 5 lockdown, Easter celebration s were banned.

Representatives from the religious sector on Thursday said they had met with government in a bid to lobby for increased church attendance over the Easter weekend.

But there were fears that a possible move to level 2 of the lockdown could scupper any such plans.

Some leaders indicated that they would challenge the restrictions in court.

The South African National Christian Forum Bishop Marothi Mashashane said: “If the government makes any pronouncement that hinders or restricts religious gatherings, we are not going to hesitate to take the matter to court on an urgent motion. Our basis being that the government is failing to practice consistency.”

Meanwhile, Bishop Malusi Mpulwana from the South African Council of Churches believes the religious sector is now better prepared to welcome churchgoers for this year’s Easter services.

Health Minister Zweli Mkhize has discouraged any large gatherings over the Easter break, which has the potential to trigger a possible third wave.



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