Four armed men held up worshippers at a church parking lot in Merebank, south of Durban, on Wednesday evening.
Lieutenant-Colonel Nqobile Gwala, a provincial police spokesperson, said the men approached the victims and forced them to lie on the floor.
“The suspects robbed one of the victims of his bakkie and fled the scene. No arrests have been made and the matter is still under investigation.”
This is not the first robbery of worshippers.
In October, Prophet Dwayne Gordon was killed during a robbery at the Eagle Christian Centre in Newlands, Johannesburg.
Gordon, 22, from Randfontein, also in Johannesburg, was a guest preacher at the church. Moments before he could deliver his sermon, it is alleged six armed robbers entered the church and held up the congregants.
In August, the congregants of Emmanuel Community Church in Tea Estate, Verulam, were robbed during a midweek prayer service. It is alleged five armed men entered the church and robbed its 25 congregants of their valuables.
The men locked the children up in a toilet.
In January, Pastor Michelle Francis and two congregants were held up by robbers who had a bush knife at Simunye Ministries in Palmview, Phoenix.
In an interview with the POST earlier this week, Reverend Cyril Pillay, the pastor at People’s Church of God in Chatsworth and the chairperson of the Spiritual Crime Prevention Forum (SAPS, Chatsworth), said: “Religious institutions have become easy targets. Make safety and security a must and urge parishioners to use online platforms to donate monies.”
Pillay said some of the steps they have taken over the years include having a dedicated safety and security department which managed their CCTV cameras and security personnel who monitored the church and car park during services.