FEAR not – God is in control of Covid-19.

This was the advise from controversial KZN preacher, Bishop Bheki Ngcobo.

He has called on worshippers to ignore government’s ban and go to Easter pilgrimages.

“Ramaphosa is not God. We’re God’s army, so we’re going to Easter pilgrimages to fight this virus together."

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President Cyril Ramaphosa announced on Sunday that gatherings of more than 100 people were not allowed to minimise the spread of the coronavirus.

In a voice clip circulating on social media, Ngcobo urges people to come out in big numbers to pray for an end to the virus. He sent another message: “Let’s carry on with Easter preparations with or without government’s support. The devil is testing the church and we can’t fail the test.”

Yesterday, he told Daily Sun congregants were not government’s people but God’s, and that the president had no right to tell them how to worship.

“Ramaphosa is not God. We’re God’s army, so we’re going to Easter pilgrimages to fight this virus together. We’ll use the pilgrimages to pray to God to end this virus,” said Ngcobo.

He quoted 2 Chronicles 7:14: “If my people, who are called by my name, humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and heal their land.”

A preacher’s main responsibility was to tell congregants not to fear death but to prepare for it. His call was met with mixed reaction. Phumzani Mvelase (34) from KwaMakhutha, south of Durban, said: “God is above any disease.”

A member of the Christian Apostolic Church in Zion of SA, Nokuthula Mdlalose from Umkomaas, south of Durban, said they did not cancel their Good Friday trip to Joburg.

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She said there was no reason to be fearful.

“We can’t give death so much respect. The Bible is calling on us to defeat death, so if we fear death what’s the point of worshipping God? It seems as if death is above God,” she said.

CRL Rights Commission chairman Professor David Mosoma said: “We would like to appeal to the bishop’s conscience.

“The duty of churches is to preserve life.

“The CRL is calling on all religious leaders to co-operate with government in its effort to save lives.”

KZN co-operative governance and traditional affairs spokesman Lennox Mabaso urged people to obey government’s directive.