- The Church demands stake from Relief Fund
- COVID-19 has aff ected Pastors’ welfare – BCC
- There is no clear Gov’t position – Minister Mokgethi
- We only register companies – BURS
The Botswana Council Churches (BCC) is demanding answers from the Government of Botswana over their stake in the COVID-19 Relief Fund, The Botswana Gazette has established.
BCC Secretary General Rev Gabriel Tsuaneng says churches are amongst some of the hardest hit institutions by the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic in the country. He further said the government ought to have a solution for pastors and church employees during this period.
“The Church relies on offerings and tithes, and since there are no church services, things are now very difficult,” says Rev Tsuaneng.
He said pastors’ welfare has significantly changed as a result of the outbreak of the pandemic and also since the extreme social distancing protocols were put into effect.
“It is a very pitiful situation we find ourselves in as a church. The other day one of our member pastors called, to tell me that there is literary nothing in the house, I mean including food.”
Reached for comment, Minister of Nationality, Immigration and Gender Affairs Annah Mokgethi referred this publication’s enquiries to the Botswana Unified Revenue Services (BURS). She could only reveal that there was no clear undertaking by government in addressing challenges faced by Non Profit Organizations (NGOs).
For their part, BURS Head of Communications Mable Bolele stated that the guidelines only provided for companies that have been registered with the BURS.
“The guidelines only say companies that have been registered with the BURS, there is no mention of Churches and NGOs. For anyone to access the funds they have to be registered with the BURS, and not everyone who has applied for the fund will be approved,” she responded.
Recently, South African based Prophet Major Shepherd Bushiri came under attack after he was seen in a footage requesting followers of his church from all parts of the world to send to a bank account their tithes and offerings during this lockdown period.
“You are saying it’s a ‘Sunday and I cannot go without my offering’. There’s a church account I’m putting on the screen right now,” Bushiri says in the 27-second video, which was trending on social media.
In Bushiri’s defence the Enlightened Christian Gathering Church(ECG) spokesperson Ephraim Nyondo revealed in a statement that they are raising money for a campaign against COVID-19.
“The prophet intends to raise more money from well-wishers across the globe; the money needed to buy ventilators, face masks, gloves and hand sanitizers which will be given freely to any place where it is needed,” said Nyondo.