Two armed attacks on churches in Gauteng this month have prompted a call for action from the International Federation of Christian Churches (IFCC). The first incident occurred at the Reformed Church in Daspoort, west of Pretoria, where a 13-year-old boy was assaulted during a robbery.
Four armed men entered the church during the evening service and took money, cellphones, jewellery, and the church laptop. The teenager was hit on the head with a pistol and kicked in the face. An elderly woman was also injured, though not seriously. The robbers fled with a Toyota Corolla and the stolen items.
The second attack took place at the Eagle Christian Centre in Newlands, Johannesburg, during a live service. Pastor Dwayne Gordon was killed and two others were wounded in the robbery. A video of the incident circulated on social media, sparking outrage and concern.
The IFCC, represented by pastor Giet Khosa, strongly condemned the attacks and expressed concern over the rising crime rate. Khosa emphasized the need for a partnership between the police, the religious sector, and civil society to address the issue.
He suggested that churches should become cashless and enhance security measures with the assistance of the police. Khosa also recommended that congregants be encouraged to make offerings through alternative methods to reduce the risk of being targeted by criminals.
The IFCC plans to meet with the leadership of the police to discuss the matter further and seek solutions. Khosa stressed the importance of apprehending and prosecuting the perpetrators to ensure the safety of places of worship. He called for a united effort to combat crime and protect vulnerable individuals.
Police spokesperson Lt-Col Mavela Masondo confirmed that a case of robbery had been opened and that a search for the suspects was underway. Masondo urged anyone with information to contact the police or Crime Stop.