KwaZulu-Natal Finance MEC Ravi Pillay
KwaZulu-Natal Finance MEC Ravi Pillay

SA lockdown: Ignore 'isolated' voices who disregard the presidents call, says KZN MEC

By Bongani Hans Time of article published Mar 25, 2020

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Durban - KwaZulu-Natal Finance MEC Ravi Pillay on Wednesday called on religious leaders to isolate their counterparts who are rebelling against President Cyril Ramaphosa’s instruction that gatherings should include less than a hundred people. 

Pillay was among various MECs who were deployed to the province’s eleven districts to disseminate information on how the provincial and national governments were working on slowing down the spread of the Coronavirus. 

He was referring to Durban-based bishop Bheki Ngcobo who recently called on Christians to ignore Ramaphosa’s call and continue with their Easter weekend mass gatherings. 

“The premier (Sihle Zikalala) was very, very clear against those one or two isolated voices. 

“They were saying things like the president is not God and they will continue to have their services in an unlimited way.

“They must continue to be isolated voices.,” said Pillay.

Addressing religious and traditional leaders in Hilton outside Pietermaritzburg, Pillay said Ramaphosa’s call, which was meant to control the spread of coronavirus, was enjoying “110%” support of the majority of prominent religious leaders. 

He said Zikalala had during a breakfast meeting with religious leaders on Monday in Durban quoted from the bible to explain why there should be adherence to the gathering restricting measures. 

“The premier was very powerful in quoting certain sections of the bible, which tells us how to respond in times of crisis like this. 

“Cardinal Wilfrid Napier, representing KZN Council for Christian leaders, delivered a written statement, which was basically 110% in support of the campaign. That is negating all other negative messages,” Pillay said.

He said leaders who denied the seriousness of the virus were not only limited to South Africa, as “in the world, there are some very powerful people who are showing some signs of denial”.

He said the seriousness of the disease could be seen in Italy where hospitals were overwhelmed with infected patients.

“Thousands of people have died. We might not have people dying that yet and we want to avoid the situation from getting to that phase,” he said.

He said the government was not undermining the importance of Easter among Christians. 

“We all recognise that the Easter weekend is probably the most intense religious period and people would want to give expression to that. 

“But we are already becoming more creative as we already have services that are live-streamed to the congregants and we are finding ways to split the congregation and bring it within the restrictive numbers,” said Pillay. 


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