Good Hope Christian Centre launches ground-breaking campaign to get religious organisations classified as an Essential Service

Unlock Section 31: Open My Sanctuary calls on the public to get their voice heard


During the South African National Lockdown, despite strict regulations, certain industries and businesses have been declared as Essential Services. The Government has and continues to issue businesses with a certificate categorising them as an Essential Service via the Companies and Intellectual Property Commission (CIPC). The extensive list of Essential Services includes, but is not limited to, the healthcare sector, financial sector, large supermarket chains, vehicle towing services, plumbers, electricians, DSTV installers and recently hardware stores.


Senior Pastors of Good Hope Christian Centre, Neville and Wendy McDonald, are leading the charge on behalf of all religious groups to practice their Constitutional right to gather as a community while complying with the Essential Service regulations as stipulated by Government.


“The Church and other religious and cultural organisations need to be declared as an Essential Service, and by so doing, join hands with those who provide an important service to our Nation during this challenging time. We would like to express our gratitude towards the thousands of medical, police, defence force, security guards and others forming part of the essential workforce, for their selfless efforts in serving the Country. The Unlock Section 31: Open My Sanctuary campaign, is not only for the Christian faith but an inclusive campaign for all South Africans,” says Pastors Neville and Wendy McDonald. “The Bill of Rights Constitution, Section 31, states, and we quote: “


Bill of Rights of the Constitution Section 31:

Cultural, religious and linguistic communities.


(1) Persons belonging to a cultural, religious or linguistic community may not be denied the right, with other members of that community—
(a) to enjoy their culture, practice their religion and use their language; and
(b) to form, join and maintain cultural, religious and linguistic associations and other organs of civil society.


(2) The rights in subsection (1) may not be exercised in a manner inconsistent with any provision of the Bill of Rights. The petition will be handed to Government for consideration that this Section in our Constitution be unlocked. Churches, Mosques, Cultural and other religions need to be allowed the freedom of choice while still adhering to the Essential Services stipulations.”


Following the outbreak of the novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) during December 2019, it has gripped the International community with a devastating number of deaths recorded to date, being declared as Global Pandemic. Various governments all over the world have declared nationwide lockdowns and quarantined their Central Business Districts (CBDs), compelling and forcing their citizens to remain at home.


“We understand that the Coronavirus has made it very challenging for all religious organisations to fully function. There are some religious organisations that do not have the resources to ‘meet online’, neither do many South Africans have the spending power to continually buy data during this challenging time. This is why every South African should be afforded their right, sited in Section 31 of the Constitution, allowing them to meet within their religious groups. Why are supermarkets declared as an Essential Service, yet religious groups needed to feed and nurture spiritual wellbeing are not acknowledged as an Essential Service.”


Unlock Section 31: Open My Sanctuary will be the face of the faceless and allow for all religious and cultural organisations to gather as a community. A petition to support this campaign can be found on and on the Unlock Section 31 website. This petition will be submitted to Government as a plea to classify religious and cultural organisations as Essential Services during the ongoing National Lockdown.




For more info on Unlock Section 31: Open My Sanctuary:


Campaign website:
Instagram: @ghccfans
Official hashtags: #UnlockSection31 #OpenMySanctuary


For Media Contact:
Kim Julius – Publicist
084 0288 674