Johannesburg, 27 July, 2020 / 10:04 pm (ACI Africa).
Gatherings for the last rites in South Africa have been identified as “a major source of mass infection” of the coronavirus with the leadership of the South African Council of Churches (SACC) cautioning that leaders of various Christian denominations who flout COVID-19 measures risk facing prosecution.
In a letter based on feedback across the South African country showing “that funerals continue to be a major source of mass infection, accelerating the numbers and leading to death and then more infectious funerals,” SACC officials remind church leaders of their responsibility to alert bereaved families about government guidelines put in place to curb the spread of the coronavirus.
“Our concern is that the finger is pointing to the inability or unwillingness of church pastors to manage funerals in accordance with the regulations, opening them to prosecution,” SACC General Secretary, Bishop Malusi Mpumlwana says in the July 24 letter to leaders of member churches, which was circulated Monday, July 27.
SACC leadership notes that oftentimes church ministers “do not at all” exercise their responsibility to ensure COVID-19 compliant funerals.
Church leaders become “rightly responsible for the death of people who die after an infection from a funeral they were conducting,” SACC leadership says and adds, “This means that if anyone should be charged for a non-compliant funeral, it should be the minister in charge of the funeral, not the naughty crowd at Soshanguve, for example.”