ACDP condemns 'indiscriminate shooting of Christians' by police
The African Christian Democratic Party (ACDP) has condemned what it labelled the “indiscriminate shooting of Christians” by the police during a church service in Sebokeng, south of Johannesburg, on Sunday morning.
TimesLIVE reported that the police used rubber bullets and stun grenades to disperse a group of about 250 people who had gathered for a church service in Sebokeng Zone 7.
Two church leaders, aged 47 and 69, were arrested for contravening level 3 lockdown regulations, which do not allow for church services to be held.
A 62-year-old woman was arrested for a similar contravention and for an additional charge of public violence.
Some churches in Sebokeng are refusing to remain closed as required under lockdown level three. Several groups of churches have called a meeting for today. The Police have arrived and shut down the gathering. @ManqobaMchunu is there. #eNCA Courtesy #DStv403 pic.twitter.com/PEWyBbINqL— eNCA (@eNCA) January 10, 2021
ACDP president Rev Kenneth Meshoe questioned why casinos, restaurants, movie theatres and shopping malls have been allowed to operate, but not churches.
He said an elderly lady was allegedly shot by the police with a rubber bullet between the eyes and is now receiving medical attention.
“If churches are able to comply with the same health and hygiene protocols as those in the business sector, why shut them down? Most, if not all, churches have been complying with the health and hygiene regulations, but it appears to us that churches have become a soft target,” he said.
Meshoe said consultation was a key pillar of democracy and any new law which the government sought to enact without proper consultation could be challenged in court.
“Government must stop consulting with the South African Council of Churches only, as not all churches in SA are affiliated to them. To get a balanced and objective opinion of what most churches and religious organisations in SA are saying, government should broaden their consultations to be more inclusive.”
Police spokesperson Brig Mathapelo Peters said officers responded to reports of an illegal gathering at a church in Sebokeng, ordering the congregants to disperse.
“The group is reported to have defied police orders, and the situation allegedly turned violent when the congregants started throwing chairs at police, who responded by firing rubber bullets and stun grenades,” Peters said.
TimesLIVE has reached out to police watchdog Ipid for comment.
Would you like to comment on this article or view other readers' comments? Register (it’s quick and free) or sign in now.
Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.