GARDEN ROUTE DISTRICT NEWS - The Western Cape Government has undertaken to keep faith-based organisations and religious leaders in the Western Cape informed of the Covid-19 government interventions and communication messages to fight the pandemic in the province.
A faith-based secretariat has been established to assist with regular communication. Hadley Blake has been appointed as the head of the secretariat and can be reached on Hadley.Blake@westerncape.gov.za.
Blake said in a statement issued on Monday 4 May that religious leaders and faith-based organisations play an important role in society.
"We will therefore establish a digital Covid-19 platform for spiritual leaders to access relevant information on the corona pandemic. We are also welcoming suggestions and ideas from our religious leaders in fighting Covid-19 in the province."
The first meeting between the Western Cape Government and faith-based organisations took place via a digital platform (MS-Teams) last week Thursday, 30 April.
An inter-ministerial committee on faith-based organisations headed by Western Cape Minister of Agriculture Dr Ivan Meyer, assisted by Minister of Cultural Affairs and Sport Anroux Marais and Social Development Minister Sharna Fernandez, will oversee engagements with religious leaders.
Meyer said meaningful contributions and suggestions were received from religious groups over the past weekend, following the meeting. Topics they touched on include the lockdown regulations regarding funerals, information on the voucher system for feeding schemes and its requirements, and the consideration of essential services.
"We look forward to further engaging our faith-based organisations as they serve as crucial stakeholders in our provincial response to Covid-19."
Churches in George form effective network
Pastor Jannie Horne of Eagle's Nest in Pacaltsdorp said they would knock on the door of the new secretariat where needed. However, under the Love George banner, an effective network of 105 congregations in George is already addressing needs in the community.
"We have distributed about R270 000 worth of food hampers. We do this through the churches because pastors know where the need is. We have had wonderful support from the Vryburgers, Lions and Cremhog as well. The latter supports the homeless at Rosemoor Stadium.
"We also assist soup kitchens where we would now furthermore like to do a survey of skills of people who come to get meals. In that way we could find them work where possible, even if it is only when the economy gets going again."
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