Ramaphosa concludes meeting with interfaith leaders while two church leaders are arrested

President Cyril Ramaphosa said South Africans must work together to communicate facts about vaccines and encourage good practices 'to ensure we overcome this devastating pandemic'.
President Cyril Ramaphosa said South Africans must work together to communicate facts about vaccines and encourage good practices 'to ensure we overcome this devastating pandemic'.
Image: GCIS

Government has roped in religious leaders to help communicate facts around the Covid-19 pandemic on the same day two church leaders were arrested for contravention of lockdown regulations.

According to President Cyril Ramaphosa’s Twitter account, on Sunday evening he concluded an engagement with interfaith leaders in which a Covid-19 risk-adjusted strategy was discussed.

“At a time of rapidly rising infections, and sadly many deaths, we gave an update on the rate of infections, hospital admissions, lives lost and the vaccine rollout strategy.

“We emphasised the need for clear communication of facts. All the faith leaders welcomed the consultation and expressed appreciation for the efforts by government, and the role of religious leaders to continue to mobilise communities to follow all the health protocols,” Ramaphosa tweeted.

Health minister Zweli Mkhize announced on Saturday that a total of 1,214,176 infections had been recorded, with 21,606 recorded in the past day.

Fatalities stand at 32,824, an increase of 399 more deaths in 24 hours.

Of the total number of people infected, 956,712 have recovered, while 224,640 active cases remain.

Regarding the vaccine rollout strategy, Mkhize said religious leaders are one of the groupings the health department will call upon to educate communities about immunisation against the deadly coronavirus.

Ramaphosa said government values input from  religious leaders.

“We all have a huge responsibility to work together to communicate facts about vaccines and encourage good practices to ensure we overcome this devastating pandemic,” he said.

Meanwhile, some religious leaders spent the night behind bars after a church gathering was dispersed by police in Sebokeng, Gauteng.

“On Sunday police arrested three suspects, two male church leaders aged 47 and 69 for contravening adjusted level 3 lockdown regulations and a 62-year old woman for a similar contravention and an additional charge of public violence,” said police spokesperson Brigadier Mathapelo Peters.

The illegal gathering, which police said was attended by about 250 people,  took place in Zone 7.

“On arrival, police ordered the group of about 250 congregants to disperse.

“The group is reported to have defied police orders to disperse and the situation allegedly turned violent when the congregants started throwing chairs at police. Police responded with rubber bullets and stun grenades to disperse the group,” Peters said.

She said law enforcement agencies will continue to enforce and monitor adherence to the lockdown regulations.

She urged members of the public to adhere to lockdown regulations and immediately report those who contravened them.

TimesLIVE


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