By: Sello Theletsane
JOHANNESBURG- The Patriotic Alliance (PA) has condemned what it called the victimisation and harassment of churches by law-enforcement agencies. PA national executive committee (NEC) member Kenny Kunene cited a recent incident in Soweto where a woman pastor of the Unity Fellowship Church, Pastor Mpfariseni Mukhuba was arrested and put in the back of a police van in full view of her congregants and members of the public.
Police also fired rubber bullets at her congregants. The incident, which was captured on video has since gone viral on social media and was widely condemned by many South Africans. Kunene and a PA delegation visited the church on Sunday 7 March. “We were warmly welcomed by Professor Theophilus Mukhuba, the church’s director and husband to Pastor Mukhuba. We were shocked to learn that Pastor Mukhuba has been harassed by Johannesburg Metro Police Department (JMPD) for noise pollution for many years. We find this very nonsensical since churches and other places of worship including mosques are noisy by nature. Churches are places where people sing and shout at the top of their voices praising God.”
Kunene added that “every time incidents of this nature happen, ANC Joburg City Council officials visit the church to apologise and give a commitment that such incidents would never happen against, yet the harassment and victimisation of this particular church continues.
Added Kunene: “By the way this is not the only church that has been harassed by law-enforcement agencies under the guise of enforcing Covid-19 regulations. However, the abuse of and harassment of a woman, a mother and a church leader cannot go unchallenged. The Patriotic Alliance is a God-fearing political party whose leadership will not fold their arms when Christianity is being attacked, more so by State agencies.
“We are aware that the anti-Christ seek to destroy Christianity as a religion which then makes one wonder why the ANC-led government removed Biblical studies as a school subject. Sadly, when this assault on Christianity occurred, many religious leaders were silent.”
Kunene said: “During Apartheid, the church was at the forefront of our liberation struggle. Today we are faced with a new type of struggle that seeks to criminalise Christianity by deploying an army of police to go and shoot at praying people with rubber bullets and arresting a woman pastor, forcefully put her at the back of an unsanitised police bakkie under the guise of enforcing Covid-19 regulations.”
Kunene added: “The ANC-led government is worse than the Apartheid government because during apartheid police respected churches hence these places of worship provided shelter to political activists. If indeed this is the case, does that mean the ANC-led government is part the Anti-Christ society that seeks to destroy Christianity in the world? Kunene concluded: “The PA calls on all pastors to come out of their comfort zones and join us in defending God, Christianity and the right to prayer.
Kunene also called on religious leaders to join the PA in uniting South Africans and in its fight against poverty, corruption and discrimination.