The United Ulama Council of South Africa (UUCSA) says the Presidency has undertaken to study submissions made by several faith-based organizations who have appealed to Government to open places of worship under regulated protocols.
President Cyril Ramaphosa on Wednesday consulted a broad range of faith leaders on government’s preparations for a differentiated approach across the country to the further reopening of the economy alongside the unrelenting effort to save lives.
The President held discussions in a virtual meeting with the leadership the Muslim Judicial Council, the Jewish Board of Deputies, the South African Hindu Maha Sabha and the South African Council of Churches and the National Interfaith Council of South Africa among others.
The meeting was held amid government’s planning, in partnership with civil society, for the progression of large parts of the country to Alert Level 3 of the national lockdown that will enable further easing of economic activity and personal movement.
In a statement, UUCSA says the general agreement amongst all faith groups is that congregations should not be restricted in totality until a cure is found.
“The call, by the collective of faith leaders, to open places of worship in a phased approach from risk level 3 is in line with the views of medical experts who suggest that we need to migrate from the ‘lockdown’ approach to instituting ‘appropriate social behaviour’ that will contribute to the protection of lives and livelihoods, both of which are central to the long term stability of South Africa.”
UUCSA says it asserted that the call to open places of worship under regulated protocols is underpinned by the fact that the pulpit plays a central role in holistic healing, moderating social behavior and enjoys unparalleled social reach essential for educating the masses.
“The Presidency has undertaken to study submissions made by several faith based organizations and had assured religious leaders that decision makers will give due consideration to their proposals.”
Ramaphosa thanked religious leaders for their respectful, articulate and dignified approach in dealing with a matter that is so heart-breaking to all religious communities.