The South African Council of Churches (SACC) has defined a multi-faceted plan for
involvement in next year's third democratic election.
On Tuesday, the Council's Central Committee, comprised of delegates from 24 Christian
denominations, endorsed a national voter education campaign focused on youth. A
number of the church representatives, including young people from the SACC's Youth
Forum, expressed concern about the lack of interest in the election among youth,
particularly in the churches. The Council's initiative is intended to dispel apathy and to
emphasise the importance of responsible citizenship.
The meeting urged local churches to assist people in their areas to obtain identity
documents, to register and to check that their details are properly recorded in the voters'
roll. The Central Committee noted that the Department of Home Affairs has waived the
fees for identity documents until the close of registration for the 2004 election.
Delegates also asked the SACC's Justice Ministries Unit to establish ecumenical observer
teams in all provinces to monitor polling and to form and equip a team of mediator who
can help to resolve any conflicts or disputes that might arise during the course of the
The Central Committee welcomed the prospect of a vigorous election campaign, but
urged candidates to be moderate and sensitive in their remarks so that they do not
undermine the progress achieved to date in nation-building. Delegates therefore called
on political parties to adhere to both the letter and the spirit of the Independent Electoral
Commission's code of conduct. Campaigning should focus on issues and policies, and
should not involve personal attacks or efforts to destroy the credibility of candidates or
parties. All parties should be prepared to accept the outcome of the elections, the Central
The Council will also organise post-election prayer services to give thanks for the
elections and to promote national unity.
For further information contact Mr Eddie Makue 082 853 8781
13 August 2003