News24 Wire
Wire Service
1 minute read
25 May 2020
7:25 am

Partial reopening of religious services being considered – Ramaphosa

News24 Wire

In his announcement of what will be permitted during Level 3 of the national lockdown, President Cyril Ramaphosa said the government is considering proposals to allow the partial reopening of religious activities.

Palestinians pray in the al-Aqsa Mosque compound in Jerusalem's Old City, on May 24, 2019, during the Friday prayers of the Muslim fasting holy month of Ramadan. (Photo by Ahmad GHARABLI / AFP)

“We have had fruitful discussions with leaders of the interfaith religious community on their proposals for the partial opening of spiritual worship and counselling services, subject to certain norms and standards,” Ramaphosa said in a national address on Sunday evening.

For now, all public gatherings – apart from funerals and office meetings – will remain banned when the country enters Level 3 on 1 June.

The South African Council of Churches (SACC) said that it had urged Ramaphosa at a meeting this week to allow places of worship to reopen under Level 3 of the lockdown under strict guidelines, including physical distancing.

The SACC proposed that churches would follow the same rules which guide funerals.

Currently, only 50 people are allowed to attend a funeral.

Devastating financial impact

The council also said that the lockdown has had a devastating impact on the finances of churches and asked for financial relief from the government.

During his address on Sunday evening, Ramaphosa also wished Muslim South Africans well for Eid, which will take place on Monday.

“They have all gone through a period of sacrifice, which should ordinarily be followed by a celebration. We wish to thank them for making the necessary adjustments to this celebration as we continue to fight this pandemic together.”

The Muslim Judicial Council (MJC) has urged the Muslim community to exercise physical distancing and to stay at home during Eid, saying the day could become a “super-spreading event”.

“If you have already made plans to have meals together, rather order the same meal, but have it delivered and eat it separately in your own home, joining virtually using phone/Zoom/WhatsApp, and other technologies,” the MJC advised.

For more news your way, download The Citizen’s app for iOS and Android.