ANC President Cyril Ramaphosa attends a church service at the Methodist Church in Port Shepstone on 19 May. Picture: Xanderleigh Dookey/EWN.

PRESIDENT Cyril Ramaphosa has announced the reopening of churches, mosques, temples, synagogues and other places of worship under Level 3 lockdown as from June 1.

The announcement follows a meeting of the National Coronavirus Command Council which considered the inputs made by the religious sector in recent consultations with interfaith leaders.

“Places of worship may reopen, subject to strict restrictions – which are absolutely necessary,” Ramaphosa said on Tuesday night.

“Churches, synagogues, mosques, temples and other recognised places of worship may resume services, but these will be limited in a size of 50 people or less depending on the space available.”

The National Day of Prayer will be held on Sunday May 31 for the healing and strength in the fight against COVID-19 pandemic.

He said the faith community is an integral part of South African life and has made a great contribution in the fight against the coronavirus.

“I therefore urge all South Africans to heed the call of the leaders of our various faith communities for a national day of prayer on Sunday, the 31st of May, when we will once again come together to pray for the healing of our land and the protection of our people,” said Ramaphosa.

Level 3 is expected to come into effect the next day on 1 June.

Ramaphosa said the global coronavirus pandemic has had a profound impact on all South Africans.

“Our Minister of Health today advised me that we now have over 20,000 people that have been infected and close to 500 people have lost their lives,” he said.

“This continues to cause distress among all of us as citizens of South Africa. At the same time, we are thankful that more than 11,000 people have recovered from the coronavirus.”

 (Compiled by Inside Politics staff)

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