A recent confrontation between police and churchgoers in Sebokeng Zone 7, in Gauteng, has raised eyebrows.
Police used stun grenades and rubber bullets to disperse church members who had gathered in defiance of the country’s adjusted COVID-19 regulations, which prohibits religious gatherings.
The Council of African Independent Churches (CAIC) has expressed disbelief at the incident and condemned the police’s action.
“We strongly believe that the matter could have been handled differently as opposed to discharging rubber bullets and stunt grenades to defenceless and unarmed congregants, as alleged. Each time that Christians are treated this way, CAIC will cry out and declare “Not Again” and condemn such actions! We ask all institutions to find other ways of resolving problems other than violence,” says CAIC Secretary General, Bishop TS Ngcana.
The organisation has also lambasted the concerned churches and their leaders for violating lockdown regulations.
Ngcana says the country is in the midst of a resurgence of COVID-19 infections and urges the public to adhere to lockdown laws that are aimed “at protecting and preserving lives and livelihood.”
Ngcana says the church, in particular, should commit to these regulations, without giving in.
“The Council condemns the horrendous way in which the congregants were invited to attend a prohibited gathering and subsequently treated by police. In the circumstances, CAIC continues to promote the correct and consistent wearing of cloth face-mask, social distancing and hand hygiene, to name a few.
These measures must be sustained including but not limited to ensuring that our homes and churches should be well ventilated because the virus lingers in the air for some time,” says Ngcana. – Report by Puisano News
The Hawks have made the unit’s first Eastern Cape arrest regarding the misappropriation of COVID-19 funds.
Pumza Gambula (49) appeared before the Mthatha Magistrate’s Court early on Thursday on two fraud charges, amounting to R4.8 million.
The OR Tambo District Municipality contracted Gambula’s company, Phathilizwi Training Institute, to conduct COVID-19 door-to-door community awareness workshops.
While the company did visit residents of Mhlontlo and Port St John’s Local Municipalities, they allegedly never conducted the workshops that they have submitted invoices for. They instead allegedly asked community members to write down their names for COVID-19 social grants.
The prosecuting team says attendance registers attached to the invoices as proof of services rendered contained names of people who were not staying in some of the wards that were visited by the accused as part of their “door-to-door awareness campaign.
These documents were widely circulated on social media and sparked a public outcry.
Gambula was never paid for the R3 036 000 and R1 821 600 invoices she submitted between March and June. However, the state says the municipality stood to suffer a potential prejudice by means of the said false pretenses.
Gambula has been granted R20 000 bail and is due back in court next week Friday.
The court has ordered her to hand over her passport to the investigating officer and report to Madeira Police Station twice a week until the trial is finalised.