Women to march in Pretoria demanding 50% re-opening of churches

By Jonisayi Maromo Time of article published Sep 23, 2021

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Pretoria - Women in South Africa will be marching to the Union Buildings in Pretoria on Saturday, demanding the re-opening of churches which they believe are critical places for solace, counseling and refuge particularity at a time when citizens are devastated emotionally by the impact of Covid-19.

“Our lives will begin to end the day we become silent on the issues of injustice. The average church membership comprises in the majority of 68 percent women. As women we find solace, healing, acceptance, refuge, counselling etc in the church,” said Pastor Thobile Magerman.

Whilst entertainment centres are fully operational, public transportation takes full capacity, GBV [gender-based violence] is on the rise, crime is on the rise, depression is on the rise, unemployment is on the rise, yet churches are limited to only 250 attendees. This cannot be.”

She said the church is a solution centre to many.

“We demand the 50 percent opening of our churches. An injustice to the church is an injustice to women, we can no longer be silent,” said Magerman.

She said in the last 18 months, South Africa has witnessed a dramatic rise of “brutal and senseless killings” of women, young girls and children in South Africa by men.

“We have also witnessed the rise of corruption, poor service delivery, unemployment – particularly amongst the youth. Women of South Africa are coming together on the 25 of September 2021 at the Union Buildings in Pretoria to march against these ills in society and also lament the continued harsh restrictions on churches while other sectors are operating at 50 percent capacity, some even at 100 percent,” said Magerman.

“Women are breaking their silence on these issues and are saying enough is enough. #ITCANNOTBE. This is a huge indictment and shame on our country, society, communities, all leaders and men. We can no longer just say we condemn these killings. This barbaric killing of women has gone beyond a crisis point.”

She said while her campaign welcomes the arrest of some of the perpetrators who killed women and children, she said arresting the criminals alone was not enough.

“We demand that a strong message be sent through our courts and criminal justice system. We cannot fail women, victims or their families, their communities, society and our country," said Magerman.

"A war is being waged against the women and children of our country and it is time that we as the women of South Africa stand up and be counted. History will judge us harshly if we dare fail the fellow women and children in this war.”

Magerman said the women’s march will also put a spotlight on corruption, poor service delivery, unemployment particularly amongst the youth and the continued closure of churches all of which have affected women of the country negatively.

She said the continued restriction on churches has aggravated the abuse of women and children leaving them with no place to hide.

Earlier this month, President Cyril Ramaphosa announced that South Africa was moving to a relaxed level two of the lockdown with conditions including:

The hours of curfew now start at 11pm and end at 4am.

Non-essential establishments like restaurants, bars and fitness centres will need to close by 10pm to allow their employees and patrons to travel home before the start of the curfew.

All gatherings will be limited to a maximum of 250 people indoors and 500 people outdoors.

Where the venue is too small to accommodate these numbers with appropriate social distancing, then no more than 50% of the capacity of the venue may be used.

The sale of alcohol from retail outlets for off-site consumption will be permitted between 10am and 6pm from Monday to Friday.

Alcohol sales for on-site consumption will be permitted as per licence conditions up to 10pm.


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