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Source: South Africa News Agency

President Cyril Ramaphosa has encouraged the millions of South Africans, who are commemorating Good Friday, to take courage and strength from the message of Easter as the country deals with COVID-19.

The President on Thursday, 9 April announced a two-week extension of the previously announced 21-day national lockdown, which is part of efforts to slow the spread of Coronavirus.

To date, nearly 2 000 COVID-19 cases have been confirmed in SA, with 20 deaths, according to the Presidency.

Delivering a message after a Good Friday liturgy, led by the Anglican Archbishop of Cape Town, His Grace Thabo Makgoba, President Ramaphosa said South Africans must be emboldened by the core message of hope that is brought about by Easter.

The President delivered his message from his home in Johannesburg for the virtual Good Friday Service at St George’s Cathedral, Cape Town.

“We are strengthened by the invisible bonds of faith and fellowship. As we commemorate Easter this year, a shadow hangs over our world. We are in the grip of a pandemic, the likes of which we have not seen for over a hundred years.

“Coronavirus continues to spread, leaving devastation in its wake. More than a million people are infected. Over 90 000 have lost their lives,” the President said.

Government has announced several interventions, which are aimed at assisting small business and the most vulnerable to weather the storm.

President Ramaphosa said while many feel vulnerable, he was confident South Africa would endure, for the sake of saving lives.

“As we recall and recount the life of Christ on this Good Friday, we also remember the greatest virtue of all, that of sacrifice. Despite the heavy burden that has been placed on our people over the past two weeks, we have understood that for the greater good, these sacrifices have had to be made.

“Our people have endured the extreme restrictions on their daily lives with patience and fortitude.

“As Christians, the belief that Christ gave his life as a ransom for humankind is the most fundamental tenet of faith. Today, many Christians around the world recite the Way of the Cross, remembering the pain Christ suffered. This meditation on deprivation and adversity is a reminder that, throughout history, as they face daily life, every human being upon this earth has had their own cross to bear,” said the President.

He commended the fact that since the lockdown began, the rate of identified new cases has slowed down.

“Together with other measures like closing our borders and putting an end to public gatherings, we are seeing progress.

“If we continue to observe social distancing and proper hygiene, if we continue to scale up detection and testing to ensure those who need medical care get it, we will be able to turn things around,” said the President.

He commended the role played by the faith community in supporting the national effort to contain Coronavirus.

“We thank each and every one of you. It has not been easy. Worshiping in congregation is a source of strength and comfort to many.

“It has been hard for those who have lost loved ones, to be unable to attend their burials. Couples wishing to marry have had to postpone their plans. But you have endured with patience.

“In the true spirit of Christian fellowship, you have extended a hand to the poor, the sick and the hungry. The pastoral and charity work by our Christian community has been a lifeline for many of our people in their hour of need and comfort in their time of sorrow. On behalf of all the people of South Africa, I thank you,” said the President. –

MIL OSI Africa