Thousands are expected to descend on Mitchells Plain today where preacher and farmer Angus Buchan is due to hold a service to pray for rain.
Buchan said recently that “the Lord impressed very strongly on my heart that we need to bring the Gospel of Jesus Christ to Mitchells Plain”.
In a recent video, Buchan said crime, murder, prostitution, drugs, racism, the gap between rich and poor, disrespect for human life, gangsterism and the abuse of women and children were some of the reasons the Western Cape was experiencing drought.
This view was dismissed by experts as unscientific. Human rights activist Saya Pierce-Jones said climate change was one of the key factors behind the drought, and it was not taking place because “God is not happy with Cape Town”.
Buchan and church organisations are assembling in Mitchells Plain today following a similar gathering almost a year ago in Bloemfontein.
The “It’s Time” event is to take place at the Swartklip Sports Field in Mitchells Plain from 10am till 2pm today.
The Shofar church in Stellenbosch is one of the organisations supporting the event and it’s spokesperson, Eugene Dollman, told Weekend Argus 3000 church members would attend.
Buchan said Mitchells Plain was chosen because it was “the hottest place in South Africa. Security will probably be provided by gangsters and God will pay for the event”.
According to the event’s web page, farmers from as far afield as Worcester and Bredasdorp are expected to attend the prayer service.
Strict measures will be in place to ensure that no municipal water is used. Water has been brought in from other parts of South Africa and visitors have been asked to bring their own drinking water, chairs, food and sunblock.
Not everyone is a Buchan fan, however. Pierce-Jones said that while it was important to respect the views of different religions, Buchan’s “homophobic rhetoric” was problematic, and he used religious events to advance “homophobic views”.
She said instead of preaching that the drought was punishment for gangs, prostitution and gangsterism, Buchan could better serve the affected communities by addressing the social ills that plagued these communities.
Her sentiments were echoed by the Sex Workers Education and Advocacy Taskforce (Sweat), which said comments such as those of Buchan “perpetuate violence and stigma against marginalised groups, especially sex workers who already suffer greatly from communities and police due to the criminalisation of their trade, sex work”.
“Instead of Buchan focusing energy and resources in spreading propaganda, we would like to encourage Buchan to learn from pastors such as Alan Storey of the Central Methodist Mission, who says that the scriptures are very clear that we are to safeguard the lives of the most vulnerable and stand in solidarity with those that society in general treats as outcasts,” Sweat media advocacy officer Lesego Tlhwale said.
“To state the obvious, sex workers are some of the most vulnerable people in our society, who are consistently treated as outcasts.”
Buchan said on his website: “I am excited like never before for our beloved country and I believe that the It’s Time Cape Town event will be a light that will shine, not just over the continent of Africa, but over the whole world.”
The City’s executive director for safety and security, Richard Bosman, said the event had been planned for 150000 people but the sports field could accommodate a bigger crowd.
He said meetings took place between the organisers, the SAPS and the City to co-ordinate planning for the event.
“The City’s traffic service drafted a special traffic management plan,” said Bosman.
There would be 33 traffic officers and 29 part-time traffic officers on duty, and the event organisers planned to have the area cleared by 6pm.
There would be no road closures.