Malema pleads with worshippers: 'Do not go to church, you will die'

  • The EFF has opposed South Africa moving to Level 3, accusing the president of "rendering his resignation as the captain of the ship".
  • It described the move as placing the lives of the poor in danger of contracting the virus at school and work.
  • The party says the poor black majority, who do not have access to quality private health care and relied on public facilities, would be the worst-hit by the coronavirus.

The EFF has slammed President Cyril Ramaphosa for moving the country to Level 3 of the nationwide lockdown, along with the reopening of schools, certain sectors of the economy and churches.

Party leader Julius Malema said Ramaphosa, when he addressed the nation on Sunday calling on people to become more responsible for their own well-being during the fight against the coronavirus, had turned his back on his constitutional oath.

"He was telling us that he is no longer in charge. He has surrendered the country to the looming Covid-19 catastrophe, for the benefit of white monopoly profit interests," he added.

The EFF held its first media briefing on Thursday since the pandemic broke out in the country.

"Do not go to church, you going to die, it's a trap, a set-up," said Malema.

On Tuesday, Ramaphosa announced the government had acceded to faith leaders' cries to be allowed to congregate under Level 3.

READ HERE | The faithful may gather as Ramaphosa says churches may open at Level 3

Malema pleaded with religious leaders to not open their places of worship, saying if they indeed care for their congregations and had high moral standards they would keep them out of danger.

He made an example of the case in Bloemfontein, where 67 people contracted the virus while attending a church event. ACDP leaders Kenneth Meshoe and Steve Swart as well as evangelist Angus Buchan were among those infected.

Malema called on EFF members to not attend church services.

"We call upon the caring leaders of religion not to connive with white capital to kill black people. Our people can still pray at home."

READ | Churches, mosques and temples: Cops ready to deal with law breakers in Gauteng

The red berets' commander-in-chief said he believed the country should remain at Level 5, with a Level 6 being introduced in the Western Cape, which is the epicentre of the virus in the country.

He also took at dig at the president and government, questioning why restaurants were left out, while churches, which did not even contribute to the country's economy, were being opened.

WATCH | Covid-19: How healthcare professionals should be putting on and removing PPE

"Restaurants already practiced social distancing even before social distancing. Hygiene is number one at restaurants. There are inspectors hired by municipalities that inspect the compliance of restaurants," Malema said.

Stay at home

He also hit out at the government's plans to reopen schools, urging parents not to take their children to schools until they had complied with health and safety standards.

Malema said pupils queued and made use of the same taps to drink water and travelled together, often in congested buses and taxis to get to school, which meant they were vulnerable to exposure even outside of their different places of learning.

"We are led by fools, non-thinkers, people sitting on top of their brains," he added, saying the plans put in place reflected a government either not aware of the schooling system and its challenges in the country or were planning for elite institutions.

Malema, giving an anecdote of his own children, said children would not stick to wearing masks, adding when he tried it with his boys they took it off complaining of feeling suffocated.

The EFF leader also questioned the impact of exposed children on their elderly parents and grandparents.

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