In a move that is likely to see the ban of open–air worship in Bulawayo, the city council has summoned apostolic sect members for dialogue upon which will determine their fate.

Debating during a full council meeting last Wednesday, councilors said apostolic sect churches have invaded almost every vacant council space and were making noise for the residents.

“We are tired of these churches and their open-air worship. Council has a resolution which prohibits the practice, but the churches are increasing. “They have destroyed the environment and it is unacceptable,” said Paul Malaba, a councilor.

Malaba said the worshippers often invade open areas without toilet facilities –a situation that posed health hazards.

Another councilor, Reuben Matengu, said some church leaders in high density suburbs such as Nkulumane and Tshabalala were convening church meetings in their houses to the irritation of other residents.

Deputy mayor Amen Mpofu admitted that apostolic sect churches were breaking council by-laws ,but called on council to deal with the matter “in a proper way.” “I think we need a dialogue with these churches so that they understand council plans because at times they may not understand why we condemn open worshipping,” Mpofu said.

The city fathers also resolved to call for applications from denominations wishing to construct churches.

Bulawayo mayor Thaba Moyo said council would call for a meeting with the apostolic sect members before launching a crackdown.

“By-laws are by-laws. We should all understand that. Before we go hard on these churches it is wiser to summon them to try and see why we are saying NO to open air worshipping. We also will discuss with them about alternative place which they can use for worshipping,”Moyo said.

See related material

Apostolics to be banned from open-air worship in Bulawayo. Moved to council schools

Mayor’s Guta raMwari Church celebrates anniversary of Bulawayo