Gauteng churches are going cashless due to a surge in robberies targeting these places of worship. At a meeting held in Boksburg between Gauteng Community Safety MEC Faith Mazibuko and Faith-based Organisations, resolutions were reached to encourage card payments and electronic fund transfers in churches following the recent spate of armed robberies, according to SABC News.
One tragic incident last month was the loss of Pastor Dwayne Gordon’s life during a church service in Newlands, Johannesburg. Police launched a search for six suspects who shot and killed the pastor during the service. The attack occurred when a gang of armed men stormed the Eagles Christian Centre in Newlands, where Pastor Dwayne Gordon was present as a guest preacher.
During the meeting, three breakaway sessions were held with the MEC, leading to some key recommendations. MEC Faith Mazibuko highlighted the need to combat the scourge of crime terrorising churches, emphasising the move toward a cashless system.
However, Pastor Emmanuel Mohlala believes that going cashless is only one part of the solution. He explains that criminals are often interested in more than just cash; they target expensive equipment like cell phones, keyboards, amplifiers, and cars. He suggests faith-based leaders should focus on information sharing and raising awareness about new crime trends within the church community.
Recommendations during the meeting include the collaboration between religious houses and community policing forums, increased police and crime warden patrols in places of worship, and encouraging churches to subscribe to armed response services while also installing CCTV cameras and metal detectors.
However, the meeting has faced criticism, with Sangoma Lawrence Motsepe expressing dissatisfaction and suggesting it favours particular well-established churches. He believes that the concerns of those practising different spiritual traditions, like rituals and medicine-seeking in the veld, have not received adequate attention in this initiative. Motsepe points out that they also risk encountering criminals and Zama Zamas during their practices.
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