Freedom for Religion SA: Govt excluding religious activities in lockdown

The group said even at level 1, there was no provision for any size of religious gatherings.


JOHANNESBURG - The Freedom of Religion South Africa is concerned that government hasn't factored in the activities and contribution of religious communities in any of its lockdown levels.

The group said even at level one, there was no provision for any size of religious gatherings.

Earlier this week, President Cyril Ramaphosa said South Africans would need to adapt to new ways of worshipping as the coronavirus pandemic would be around for at least another year.

On Friday, executive director Michael Swain said this needs to be addressed: “The president said we should worship in a new way, that was the only time that he mentioned us as a community. But it seems the lockdown regulations are not considering us as and we’re saying this is not proportionate with how other sectors are being treated.”

The Health Department confirmed that on 14 May 2020, South Africa's COVID-19 cases had increased to 12,739, while the country recorded 238 deaths and 5,676 recoveries. Picture: EWN

National government is on Friday starting the process of talking to various sectors of society about how to work the move from level four to level three lockdown.

The president referenced the plan to assign lockdown levels by district when he addressed the nation earlier this week.

It's not a new idea, it was first floated when we moved from level 5 to level 4 but now government is looking to fill in the detail.

Western Cape Premier Alan winde is planning to lobby government to allow the province to move to level three lockdown status.

That's despite the province accounting for more than 56% of the current cases.

But Winde said the health system was ready for the onslaught.

The Western Cape, Eastern Cape and KwaZulu-Natal have been flagged as areas of concern for their rising coronavirus cases.