The South African Council of Churches (SACC) on Sunday dismissed claims that places of worship were being prematurely reopened under level 3 lockdown for financial gain.
Religious gatherings of up to 50 people were now permitted across South Africa’s churches, mosques, synagogues, and temples.
Many citizens had been asking how this limit could possibly be enforced or policed.
The SACC said it was in no rush to open its door to congregants and it had given churches under its leadership up to 12 weeks to implement COVID-19 self-regulation guidelines.
“I hear people saying this is about making money… the churches are focused on who needs the immediate support that their spirituality requires, and I think this is really what it is about and we wouldn’t be able to do that now but we will prepare,” said the SACC’s general secretary Bishop Malusi Mpumlwana.
Mpumlwana said reopening churches would allow members of the clergy to administer important services to worshippers.
“This provision for the churches is not only about worship on Sunday, it’s also about opening up the space for the ministers to be able to visit and do the other administrative work, which was not possible until now,” he said.