Church leaders in KwaZulu-Natal have requested financial support from government, EWN reports.
Since March, church services have pretty much been prohibited across South Africa, after the ban on public gatherings implemented to reduce the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Church leaders feeling the financial pinch under lockdown
The KZN Christian Council says church leaders have struggled to make ends meet since the lockdown began.
Cardinal Wilfrid Napier, the chairperson of the council, has called for dialogue between church leaders and government to facilitate a phased-in reopening of churches.
"We are saying let's go into dialogue and come to an agreement as to when we can start helping those people," he said. "If government can help in that, or else help us by phasing in the reopening of churches so that income can be generated from the income of congregants in their church services."Wilfrid Napier, KZN Christian Council
"There are pressure groups organising petitions, and we are worried if that gets out of control people will just want to return to church without taking any precautionary measures."Wlfrid Napier, KZN Christian Council
When will religious gatherings resume?
South Africa is expected to implement Level 3 lockdown restrictions from early June.
Under Level 3, large public gatherings will remain prohibited, meaning churches will likely remain closed.
Physical distancing measures will remain in place beyond the upcoming alert level, with Level 2 accompanied by restrictions put in place to prevent the resurgence of the coronavirus.
It's only on Level 1 where religious gatherings are likely to be permitted again, as most normal activity is expected to be allowed.
Meanwhile, various sectors of the economy, along with schools and universities will resume when lockdown restrictions are eased at the start of June.
South Africa has over 20 000 cases of the coronavirus, with the death toll just three away from 400.