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Rev Peter Storey: 'Who influenced government to open congregation worship?'

29 May 2020 11:40 AM

Eusebius McKaiser speaks to various religious leaders about their decision not to reopen their places of worship on Level 3.

Questions have been raised as to who convinced the government to open congregational worship under Level 3 lockdown.

A number of churches and mosques have been issuing statements since the announcement by President Cyril Ramaphosa saying they will not be opening their doors as yet.

Eusebius McKaiser speaks to former Methodist Bishop Reverend Professor Peter Storey, who says it will be hard for people to observe the regulations set by the government.

RELATED: Green light for congregational worship at Level 3 limited to 50 people at a time

This is not about religious freedom, this is about health. It is about whether people live or die and one thing we have learned about this virus is that it loves to go to church.

Reverend Professor Peter Storey, former Methodist Bishop

People might go away from that service accompanied by a silent killer.

Reverend Professor Peter Storey, former Methodist Bishop

I would also be anxious to know why it was that in the face of the science and in the face of the sacrifice of the millions of people, who was it who had the weird idea that you could bring people in numbers and guarantee their safety every Sunday?

Reverend Professor Peter Storey, former Methodist Bishop

The Jesuit Institute South Africa responded to the announcement by President Ramaphosa that congregational gatherings will be allowed at Level 3 by saying "seemingly rushed move" is questionable.

Father Matthew Charlesworth says the action is premature.

RELATED: Jesuit Institute SA questions opening of religious institutions under Level 3

This action we think is premature, at a time where we haven't even hit the peak. We are sceptical of the capacity of churches to adequately do sanitisation during services.

Father Matthew Charlesworth, Jesuit Institute South Africa

The risk is too great. Gathering in large numbers at this time and there is a virus on the loose, to me its complete madness.

Father Matthew Charlesworth, Jesuit Institute South Africa

Also, the Claremont Main Road Mosque in Cape Town says it will not be opening doors to its mosque on Level 3.

Imam Dr Abdul Rashied Omar says they hope other religious places will follow suit.

We have taken the decision not to open our mosque. The decision is based on our risk assessment and our review of reasonable risk mitigation measures to contain the transmission of COVID-19 within the space of the mosque.

Dr Abdul Rashied Omar, Claremont Main Road Mosque, Cape Town

We commend the Muslim Judicial Council, a number of other mosques are coming on board and we hope other religious institutions will come on board.

Dr Abdul Rashied Omar, Claremont Main Road Mosque, Cape Town

It is our view that the COVID-19 pandemic requires an extraordinary response and there cannot be half measures.

Dr Abdul Rashied Omar, Claremont Main Road Mosque, Cape Town

Listen to the full interviews below...


29 May 2020 11:40 AM

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