Archbishop IJ Mureri led a UAAC delegation to an engagement with Limpopo Premier, Hon CS Mathabatha, and his Executive Council on 23 March 2020. The delegation consisted of Bishop Hlabangwana, Bishop Muzila, UAAC Chairperson Rev NS Nelufhangani, NEC secretary Rev M Tshindane, Rev A Netshilind, and Youth President N Ramutsheli.

The Premier was flanked 8 Members of the Executive Council (MECs), viz, Mr. Namane Dickson Masemola, Mr, Baiskopo Makamu, Mr. Seaparo Sekwati, Dr. Phophi Ramathuba, Ms. Polly Boshielo, Ms. Nkakareng Rakgwale, Mr. Thabo Mokone, and Ms. Thandi Moraka. 

The meeting was held in response to President Cyril Ramaphosa’s call for religious and civil society stakeholders to partner with government to fight the Covid-19 pandemic. 

The Premier began the meeting by opening scriptures, Psalm 91 and Luke 4:8-11, to set the scene for what became a very fruitful engagement. He indicated that he invited the UAAC as part of his program of consulting with stakeholders to work with government in eradicating the spread of Covid-19.

Dr Ramathuba, MEC for Health, presented background information about the Coronavirus and how it affects human beings and the global community at large. She reiterated the President’s call for all citizens to practice social distancing as well as frequent washing of hands (for 20 seconds). She however expressed concern about churches’ continual gatherings which have potential to defeat government’s efforts of eradicating the spread of the virus.

UAAC Chairperson, Rev NS Nelufhangani delineated the UAAC’s efforts on the matter by handing out the Internal Memorandum, dated 19 March 2020, which suspended all the conferences in response to the President’s call. The gesture ignited a spontaneous applause by the MECs who were conspicuously impressed with the church’s stance on the matter, even before their engagement with the government.

Bishop Muzila, characteristically, took the opportunity to formally introduce Archbishop IJ Mureri to the Premier and his Members of the Executive Council. The Premier had earlier spoken fondly of the late Archbishop Dr EMM Mureri and indicated that he knew him very well and “worked well together”.

Both parties agreed that working in tandem, following health guidelines and heeding the President ‘call for reducing number of congregants and or gatherings will be the most effective way to avoid the spread of the virus. Further engagements will take place as and when the need arise.

Peace unto all.