SA Hindu Maha Sabha, Ashwin Trikamjee Picture: Supplied
SA Hindu Maha Sabha, Ashwin Trikamjee Picture: Supplied

KZN religious leaders give thanks over lockdown changes on gatherings

By Sakhiseni Nxumalo Time of article published May 28, 2020

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Durban – Religious leaders yesterday welcomed the announcement that religious gatherings of up to 50 people would be permitted when the country enters level 3 lockdown.

President Cyril Ramaphosa, who made the announcement on Tuesday night, said strict conditions should be put in place to prevent Covid-19 infections from rising.

The decision comes after numerous discussions with religious leaders who made proposals around the gradual resumption of religious activities.

Part of the announcement was that religious leaders would now be recognised as essential religious

front-line workers for purposes of spiritual counselling.

Reacting to the announcement, the president of the SA Hindu Maha Sabha, Ashwin Trikamjee, said they welcomed the decision as it was what they presented to the president.

“It’s something we’ve been calling for. We are satisfied about the restriction that has been put in place for the places of worship to open,” he said.

Trikamjee said they were also satisfied that the restriction of numbers to 50 people was in the interest of saving and protecting the lives of the congregants from the virus.

He said since some of the religious groups had a large number of congregants, they would have to come up with a way of operating under

the restriction.

“We want 50 people inside the place of worship and the others would have to either wait for another service or come back some other time.”

Trikamjee said he was confident that leaders, “as responsible people in the society”, would make sure that the restrictions was followed.

Durban Zionist Bishop Bheki Timothy Ngcobo, chairperson of God’s Church Must Rise Christian Organisation, also welcomed the announcement, but said 50 people for a church service was a small number.

“Nevertheless, we accept it for now. We are eagerly waiting for a time where the church will be allowed to operate in full force,” said Ngcobo.

He said churches needed to be compensated like all other sectors that were compensated by the government for loss of income during lockdown.

“Churches have lost a lot of revenue in the form of tithes and offerings used for taking care of pastors and their wives who are in full-time ministry and have no other income.”

The Mercury

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