POLL | Will you attend Easter services or nah?

29 March 2021 - 11:11 By cebelihle bhengu
Easter is one of the most significant religious holidays on the Christian calendar. Stock photo.
Easter is one of the most significant religious holidays on the Christian calendar. Stock photo.

Churchgoers and religious leaders are waiting for an announcement by President Cyril Ramaphosa about whether churches will be allowed to hold Easter services.

Ramaphosa is expected to meet provincial premiers on Monday, after which the cabinet will make the final decision, according to the Sunday Times.

Health minister Zweli Mkhize told Sunday Times there are ongoing discussions about how best to prevent the spread of Covid-19 while also accommodating churches.

A senior politician, who spoke to the publication on condition of anonymity, said among options discussed by the national coronavirus command council (NCCC) were to allow indoor gatherings of up to 1,000 people and outdoor gatherings of up to 5,000. 

The politician said there were also deliberations around closing interprovincial travel and imposing a temporary ban on the sale of alcohol during the Easter weekend.

Churches around the country were forced to cancel religious gatherings at the height of the pandemic last year to prevent the spread of Covid-19.

Some religious leaders told Sunday Times Daily they are opposed to cancelling Easter services this year. Others said they would support any decision taken by the government. 

Bishop Malusi Mpumlwana from the SA Council of Churches (SACC) said churches had developed methods to prevent the spread of Covid-19 during services.

He said churches represented by the council want to be able to host services with a limited number of congregants.

“The churches are saying they would like to have for Easter the ability to have half the size of square metres of their church. For example, if your church is 100m², it should have 50 people. If it is 500m², it should have 250 people.”

Last Thursday, acting minister in the presidency Khumbudzo Ntshaveni said Ramaphosa would address the nation and detail a plan agreed by the NCCC. The minister said the plan would look at managing the Easter period, Jewish Passover and Muslim Ramadan which follow after Easter.