JOHANNESBURG – Minister in the Presidency Jackson Mthembu has told Eyewitness News that religious organisations will regulate and monitor themselves to ensure that they comply with safety regulations when they open their doors next week.
On Tuesday night, President Cyril Ramaphosa announced that churches, mosques and temples, which had been shut down for more than two months, could open when the country moved to level 3 lockdown regulations but under strict conditions, including the limitation of 50 people per service.
He said that the religious leaders, who were now declared essential religious front line workers, provided spiritual guidance, care and counselling to millions of South Africans.
There is now scepticism and fear that allowing these religious gatherings to resume will allow the coronavirus to spread rapidly.
Government expects churches, mosques and temples to adhere to safety measures when they open their doors next week but how will they be monitored top ensure their congregants are not exposed to the virus?
This is how Minister Mthembu responded.
“You can ask the same question on how the workspaces will be monitored too because we’ve said that sectors of the economy are now open.”
But government has dispatched inspectors from the Labour Department to regulate if companies comply with safety guidelines.
Mthembu said that the churches would monitor themselves.
“They’ve agreed that they will monitor themselves. Many churches have motherboards and associations.”
He said that government would provide further details on Thursday on the regulations that would govern gatherings.