Watch: Police raid mosque, arrest men for gathering during Ramadan

A video circulating on social media shows police storming into a mosque to arrest a group of men for violating the lockdown regulations.

Watch: Police raid mosque, arrest men for gathering during Ramadan

A video, circulating on social media on Saturday 25 April, shows up to six police officers storming into a mosque to arrest a group of men who were praying. The video caption says the incident took place at a mosque in Pretoria West. 

In the video, it looks as though there could be up to 20 men praying together in close proximity — therefore a direct contravention of the lockdown regulations — which prohibit public gatherings. 

This comes as Muslims enter the sacred and holy period of Ramadan where they will fast for one month until Eid. The period started on Thursday 23 April and will end on 23 May. 

Watch: Police arrest praying men in mosque 

Here’s what can be seen in the video 

In the video, police officers, with masks and other protective gear can be seen entering a mosque. 

Once inside, police officers call for a group of about 20 men to get down flat on the ground, which they willingly do. Police start shouting “you are all under arrest, you think our president is crazy”.

One officer said: “you are under arrest for contravening the COVID-19 regulations”.

Another officer asked a man on the floor if he thought he was bigger than the president, to which the man answered no. 

The video ends there, however, the caption says that at least 17 men were arrested from the mosque.

The South African contacted police spokesperson Brigadier Vishnu Naidoo for comment but he did not respond at the time of publication. 

Ramaphosa sends message to Muslims celebrating Ramadan 

Ramaphosa made a video, wishing Muslim’s all over the world well during the holy period. 

“During this month Muslims will fast from sunrise to sunset and engage in acts of devotion and charity. Ramadan is a time for reflecting on the values of humanity, simplicity, sacrifice and solidarity,” he said. 

Ramaphosa, however, said it is still important to observe the regulations to curb the spread of the disease, although difficult. 

“Sadly it will not be as it was last year. Many of the Ramadan traditions like praying at a mosque, making the Umrah pilgrimage and visiting family and friends are not taking place,” he said.  

“If we are to prevail against this pandemic we have to stand united and observe the provisions that are in place to safeguard our own health and the health of others,” he added.

This is a developing story — updates to follow. 

Source : The South African More   

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Government aims to curb hunger with R350 Social Relief of Distress grant

Although the grant will help unemployed South Africans, some argue that R350 is not enough to live on.

Government aims to curb hunger with R350 Social Relief of Distress grant

Social relief of distress is an impermanent provision of assistance intended for persons in such dire material need that they are unable to meet their or their families most basic needs. Social Relief of Distress is paid to South African citizens or permanent residents, who have insufficient means get acquire their basic needs. According to current data, some ten million South Africans could be entitled to the grant.

On Tuesday night, President Cyril Ramaphosa announced a new R500 billion economic support package, which commences a monthly payout to the unemployed the first of its kind in South Africa. It will be temporary, and not the universal basic income grant many hoped for, but South Africa will now pay the unemployed a cash amount for six months.

Social Relief of Distress grant for jobless South Africans

Though, the Social Relief of Distress grant of R350 a month will be paid to individuals who are at this time jobless and do not receive any other form of social grant or Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF) payment. South Africa had some 6.7 million unemployed people, plus there are almost 3 million discouraged job seekers.

However, more than a million people are expected to lose their jobs due to the impact of the contagion, according to preliminary modelling by Business South Africa, a corporate alliance founded four weeks ago in response to the pandemic. Some of these workers who were employed in the formal sector should receive unemployment payouts from the UIF, which covers ten million workers. But many will be in the informal sector, and not entitled to UIF payments.

Based on current and expected unemployment numbers, the total cost to the government could be between R14 billion which are 6.7 million recipients and R23 billion which are 11 million. In total, Ramaphosa said that government has budgeted R50 billion to relieve the coronavirus impact on the poor. Unemployment benefit recipients will get around R11 a day. Yet, the monthly payment of R350 is exactly a tenth of the minimum wage around R3 500.

‘Not enough to live off’

Furthermore, it is also far below the amount of money you need to stay alive in South Africa, just when it comes to food. According to Statistics South Africa, the food poverty line is R561 per person per month. This refers to the amount of money that an individual needs to buy the “minimum required daily energy intake” of food. This is also commonly referred to as the “extreme” poverty line.

Moreover, social media created a storm with the “#R350” trend, as some applauded the government, while other criticized the need for the assistance and while others who were armed with certificate, believed they deserved to get a bigger social grant than those with only matric.

How people can register for the Social Relief of Distress grant?

“They are going to be using an SSD or WhatsApp process for them to be able to register”.

How will they identify legitimate beneficiaries?

“You are going to be able to indicate I’m not employed, I’m not getting UIF, I’m not getting an NSFAS fund, I’m a South African and then we will check the database for information.”

When will payments starts?

“Once you have registered, we hope to start doing payments at the beginning of May”.

How will the money be paid?

“We are going to use three possible processes; an e-voucher, a mobile money transfer or, if you have a bank account, we’ll put the money in your bank account”, states Busisiwe Memela Sassa CEO

Source : The South African More   

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