CRIMINALS have set their targets on churches as well, after more than 600 schools countrywide have already been vandalised as lockdown continues.
This has prompted Mpumalanga police spokesperson, Brig Leonard Hlathi, to plead this week with members of the public to assist the police in arresting these criminals.
In at least two incidents, church leaders or congregants have been held at gunpoint.
At the Marite Assembly in Bushbuckridge, expensive equipment and numerous other items were stolen, as the church fell prey to the acts of criminals who are looting churches all over the province.
The church has been targeted more than 10 times already, while churches in Komati and Kabokweni have also reported huge losses.
At the Marite church two new beds, all the kitchen equipment and the church’s pastor’s clothes were stolen in the latest break-in.
An elder at the church, Walter Mdawe, told NewsHorn that criminals broke the front door to gain access to the church’s house.
“They took almost everything in the house. I believe they were well aware that there was no one in the house since our pastor went home due to lockdown, so they took advantage of that. They broke into our church more than 10 times now, while no arrests have been made and none of the stolen goods have been recovered,” he said.
In Nkomazi, the Christ for the World Ministries was hard hit when criminals stole the church’s sound system and equipment and all the chairs.
Pastor Wisdom Chauke said the garage door at the church was broken down while a young man who sleeps at the premises was held at gunpoint while they raided the church.
“They ordered him to open the storeroom and took all the sound equipment, the complete sound system, two laptops and the cellphone that belongs to the young man. We are very grateful that they did not hurt him because they could have killed him too, as he saw their faces,” he said.
In Kabokweni, the Jehovah Shamma Church in Clau Clau also fell prey to the hands of criminals when they held the pastor at gunpoint before taking his bakkie, laptop and cellphone. They also stole the church’s sound system.
“It’s very sad that criminals are now targeting the House of the Lord. However, members of the public can assist us to make sure that we arrest them by reporting them to the nearest police station. We are aware they will sell the systems to community members again,” Hlathi said.