Gauteng provincial government takes Covid-19 vaccine programme to church

By Michelle Banda 13 September 2021

Dr Nomathemba Mokgethi, MEC of Health in Gauteng, addresses the congregation on vaccines at the Gospel Fire Ministries International Church in Midvaal, Gauteng, on 12 September 2021. (Photo: Michelle Banda)

More than 50 people were vaccinated at the Gospel Fire Ministries International church pop-up site in Sedibeng District Municipality on Sunday.

Michelle Banda

Because of disinformation and other reasons, many people in South Africa are still hesitant to get vaccinated against Covid-19 – and Sedibeng District Municipality in Gauteng is no exception.  

Gauteng Health MEC Dr Nomathemba Mokgethi said: “After assessing all the districts in the province, Sedibeng is not performing as expected. Out of a population of 955,000 the only vaccinated persons are close to 167,000 (12% of the population). That worries us as a province.”  

Responding to the low vaccine numbers, the Gauteng provincial government has launched a vaccine scale-up campaign.

On Sunday the campaign was taken to the Gospel Fire Ministries International church in De Deur, Midvaal, run by vaccine promoter the Rev TA Ralekholela. 

Speaking to Maverick Citizen, Stella Mphumela and Tlokotsi Macholo, who were among the 54 people vaccinated at a pop-up site at the church, expressed their gratitude for the vaccines being brought to their place of worship.  

Macholo said, “I work throughout the week and have no time to visit the vaccinating centres. Being given an opportunity to vaccinate today at my place of worship is a great honour.” 

Stella Mphumela was glad to have received her vaccine soon after church at Gospel Ministries International in De Deur Midvaal, Sedibeng District Municipality. (Photo: Michelle Banda)
Prophet TA Ralekholela, founder of Gospel Fire Ministries International church. (Photo: Michelle Banda)
Sedibeng District Municipality Executive Mayor Lerato Maloka. (Photo: Michelle Banda)

The MEC for Finance and convenor of Faith-Based Organisations (FBO), Nomantu Nkomo-Ralehoko, said: “The provincial government partnership with churches has assisted the realisation and need to take the vaccines to the people.” Ralehoko said this was the first of many pop-up sites planned for religious centres. 

Midvaal acting Executive Mayor Patricia Hutchinson said: “The vaccine is so important… vaccines stop the wave from coming to a peak and flatten the wave.” 

The Gospel Fire Ministries’ Ralekholela said: “Re tlo phela! It has been our message that people should live and the vaccine is a method that God has given us through our scientists that can help alleviate the problem of Covid in our country. I encourage people to take vaccines to save more lives. I for one am vaccinated and stronger than ever.” 

“We know getting vaccinated is not mandatory but for all of us to be safe let us vaccinate,” said Sedibeng District Municipality Executive Mayor Lerato Maloka. “We are encouraging… everyone who is not yet vaccinated to come and get their vaccines.” DM/MC


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