Religious restrictions lift a relief for Phoenix worshippers after temple targeted by criminals
Bala Gunpath, the Forest Haven Hindu Dharma Sabha - Shri Sita Ram Mandir chairperson, said criminals took advantage of the closure of religious sites. The temple is based on Hannaford Drive in Phoenix.
Gunpath said on Tuesday criminals ripped a burglar gate off its hinges, damaged a door and broke windows of the temple. They stole 10 light fittings, a bar fridge containing fruit and milk for offerings and the gate.
“Crime is something we have to live with. It has become a norm in Phoenix. How they got away with carrying the items without being seen is a cause for concern. We were here daily but because of the lockdown the place is closed. Criminals know this. "We have to start over. We are putting together quotes to repair the door, brickwork and damaged gate. It will set us back financially. Previously, our musical instruments were stolen.
“It is very sad and disturbing that our beautiful Mandhir has been broken into. Our heartfelt thanks to Platinum Asset Protection and our wonderful community for assisting us during this time,” Gunpath said.
Platinum Asset Protection spokesperson Annastashia Naidu said two men were apprehended on Tuesday evening. She said they were found with several items, including light fittings.
Police spokesperson Colonel Thembeka Mbele confirmed the incident and that Phoenix SAPS were investigating a case of burglary.
On Tuesday, President Cyril Ramaphosa announced that places of worship may reopen subject to strict restrictions. Ramaphosa said churches, synagogues, mosques, temples and other recognised places of worship may resume services, but these will be limited in size to 50 people or less depending on the space available.
Ramaphosa said social distancing would have to be observed and all worshippers and participants would have to wear face masks in line with the current regulations. Ramaphosa said religious leaders will be recognised as essential religious front line workers for purposes of spiritual counselling to members of their faith organisations.