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South African Council of Churches

Postal Address
P O Box 62098
Marshalltown 2107
South Africa

Physical address
Khotso House
62 Marshall Street
Johannesburg
South Africa

 

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Email: support@sacc.org.za

Telephone:
+27 (0)11 241 7800   |   Facsimile: +27 (0)11 492 1448

Meals On Wheels - Northern Cape

Meals on Wheels Community Services
is a non-profit organization providing Cooked meals, to the poorest of the poor, vulnerable persons, children, and the elderly. Providing community support, infrastructures, and services to those in need... www.mowcsnc.org.za

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SACC aXaSA meets with the National Commissioner, General MV Phyega
Friday, 12 April 2013

 

Anti-Xenophobia Action South Africa

 

Anti-Xenophobia Action South Africa

 

An Inter-Religious Alliance for Sustainability in Africa
Responsibility of the Khalifa –Despoil not what God has given us in abundance
and placed under our vice-regency to conserve for future generations

Statement on the 18th Conference of Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change

Doha, Qatar
26 November 2012 – 7 December 2012

“Assuredly the creation of the heavens and the earth is greater than the creation of mankind: Yet most men understand not.”
(Holy Qur’an 40:57)

“The Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to till it and keep it.”
(Holy Bible: Genesis 2:15)

In all of our religions is the notion of responsibility – the responsibility to our Creator, to each other, to other species, and to the ultimate truth which is the foundation of our salvation and enlightenment.

Those who believe that we can despoil the Earth without consequences are mistaken. The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change is a gathering point for our respective governments to own and understand the divine instructions and obligations on humanity to live within the means of the abundance that we have found at our disposal.

While we may argue about who has used more, and who owes what in return, the truth is that the UNFCCC negotiations are failing to accept the fundamental and evident premise that we have run out of time and we must bow in humble submission to this eternal law of responsibility.

Failure to take heed is at great cost; cost which is experienced by the poor in Africa, both rural and urban, members of the human community whom God has created in His ultimate wisdom. Our mosques, churches, temples, synagogues and traditional healers of Africa are united in our witness of the impacts of climate change and the vulnerability of our societies and life on Earth.

The price of delay is not only financial or in human life, it is a price which must be paid by many generations, by those yet unborn and innocent of our excesses. Those who are the perpetrators of such spoilage and foolishness will also know the long-term price of their actions, in this life, in the after-life or in their rebirths –  as understood and transmitted by our scriptures and clergy.

In all of our religions, there is also the doctrine of salvation and liberation. As much as we have been fools, poisoned with greed and ignorance, so our divine faiths offer us recourse and a way to make right the wrongs we have committed. COP18 is precisely this opportunity for each negotiator to raise-up his or her moral strength, to commit to righteous actions to save the planet and its abundant creation. Whether you belong to an organized religion or not, if you are inspired by reverence for life in its great diversity and detail – we will stand by you through the negotiations to support you to find the strength, the wisdom and the words to bring about a binding agreement to reduce our Greenhouse Gas emissions, to redirect us to a path of renewable energies, and to protect ecosystems and biodiversity within a framework of social justice and compassion for those most vulnerable.

By committing to this path, you will find that there is great mercy and blessing awaiting you.

We are particularly cognizant that this COP will take place in Qatar, a land of devout faith. We call on our Muslim brothers and sisters to share their Qur’anic teachings and inspire the political leaders of West Asia and the Islamic World to guide the spirit of the negotiations to a worthy and wise conclusion.

Heavenly Father,
through your Eternal Word all of creation came into existence,
and is held in being by your Holy Spirit.

In the lives we lead and the choices we make,
help us to be mindful of the impact upon your world and its people,
near and far, now and in future generations,

so we may be faithful stewards of all that you have entrusted to us,
until that time when all things are reconciled to you.

His Grace, Archbishop Thabo Makgabo, Anglican Church of Southern Africa

Devo vasssatu kālena
Sassasampatti hotu ca
Phito bhavatu loko ca
Rājā bhavatu dhammiko

May there be rains at the right season
May there be a plentiful harvest
May the people be happy
May the rulers govern with righteousness
Theravada Buddhism

Statement of African Faith Leaders on the occasion of the
18th Conference of Parties to the
UN Framework Convention on Climate Change

Our message to African leaders, UNFCCC negotiators and civil society
Preamble:

  1. Overall, the progress at COP17 was a positive sign that the UNFCCC process can ensure that that climate change is tackled through international law, and should not depend on the good will of the richest countries on Earth;

  2. It is imperative to defend the integrity of the United Nations and the UNFCCC in particular as the appropriate place for negotiating a binding climate agreement. Efforts should be made to uphold the need for the human family to concentrate on the global good and recognise the moral and ethical foundation of the climate crisis. Faith leaders call on our political leaders not to allow the climate crisis to be defined solely in economic terms and relegated to trade and banking platforms where Africa’s voice is marginalised;

  3. We cannot continue with the same models of development, economics and amoral conduct in the global system of governance and multilaterialism. Not only must we address the evident causes of climate instability, its impacts and support those most vulnerable – we fundamentally need a model of living which is anchored in good faith, compassion, respect for nature, and adherence to the scriptural guidance of our role as stewards and custodians, not of consumers of the Earth’s beauty and abundance;

  4. Let us take cognisance of the fact that South Africa’s energy and economic interests are not necessarily in alignment with the Africa Group. South Africa tends to speak on behalf of the Africa Group, while at the same time aligning its strategies with the emerging economy cluster of the BASIC / BRICS group. Faith leaders call on African political leaders and civil society to have a critical partnership with South Africa and to recognise where there are conflicts of interest. Success in the climate negotiations must speak directly to the well-being and sustainability of the Least Developed Countries.

On Mitigation (reducing emissions)

  1. There is only one way to turn around the chaos and suffering wrought by climate change. Africa must lead the way to a robust, binding agreement on the global reduction of Greenhouse Gases as called for by science.

  2. More urgent action is needed to avoid global warming beyond 2 °C in relation to 1990 levels. The 2 °C increase which has been agreed to at the UNFCCC is not acceptable for the African continent – this will destroy much of our food capacity and leave millions of people in peril and conflict; COP 18 should include a strong and binding review of Annex 1 targets for emissions cuts as part of the review of the second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol, accompanied by a voluntary and robust cut by non-Annex 1 countries to help move the process forward;

  3. We urgently need to move away from fossil fuels and into renewable energy. This requires a global compact to effect the transition. Africans cannot keep trading in the future of the unborn in the interests of short-term solutions. We need to be pro-active in the transition of our energy sources. This should be done in cooperation with the Gulf States which have established solid economies on the basis of fossil fuels;

  4. Africa urgently needs to safeguard the rights of indigenous peoples and local communities who are experiencing rapid land alienation. Some REDD+ and bio-fuel projects are threatening African food security and human rights. We call on the African Union to work closely with the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights to ensure a binding regional safeguards mechanism related to land use changes associated with natural resource extraction and mitigation projects;

  5. The African Development Bank still does not have a safeguard mechanism on the rights of indigenous peoples including nomadic pastoralists. This should be an urgent priority for Africa, in association with our rights-based climate resilience strategies;

On Adaptation (coping with climate change)

  1. Africa is suffering. Droughts, food insecurity, climate diseases and floods torment our continent and spread strife and conflict in our lands. Africa must move effectively to implement the Cancun Adaptation Framework. Adaptation platforms need to be formalised in all African States and need to ensure transparency and inclusivity.

    We call on African governments to consult and work in close cooperation with the Faith sector, civil society, indigenous peoples and local communities to ensure successful national adaptation plans and programmes of action. The African implementation of the National Adaptation Programmes of Action (NAPAs) has been too modest as a foundation and needs the full cooperation of State and non-State parties as well as international and national funding. Emerging economies need to provide additional financial and technical support to Least Developed Countries;

  2. NAPAs and NAPs need to draw on the principle of Ecosystems-based Adaptation in concert with Community-based Adaptation, responsibilisation of the State and private sector, and in cooperation with the Faith-sector, civil society, indigenous peoples and local communities;

  3. Food sovereignty remains a top priority for African adaptation. Attention needs to be given to protecting diverse sources of nutrition; including traditional pastoralism, hunting and wild food gathering, small scale farming and artisanal fishing;

  4. Adaptation needs to take into account traditional African knowledge systems, which include good governance of natural resources. Most African governments today do not have legal support for customary and traditional tenure of land and natural resources. These African tenurial systems are based on Ecosystems-based Adaptation, and thus require greater support under national constitutions and legal systems;

  5. The vast majority of people in Africa, particularly in rural areas, are unclear about the causes of climate change and its long term implications. During crises times, most communities turn to the churches, mosques, temples, spirit mediums and synagogues for help and succour. The Faith-sector offers to work in close cooperation with African governments to improve communication about climate change causes, impacts and ways to improve adaptation and reduce disaster risk reduction;

  6. Climate change is known to increase violence between communities and within families. Both of these phenomena are anathema to people of faith. The Faith-sector calls on African governments to empower traditional authorities, churches and mosques, traditional diviners and healers to assist in providing moral leadership to prevent community or family based conflict through early warning systems, community based adaptation planning, and negotiating cooperation between the most vulnerable and those with access to land and resources.

  7. We note that the discussion on Loss & Damage has primarily been focussed on the needs and interests of the insurance sector. Loss & Damage should be recognised as the next major area of work of the UNFCCC, emerging from both our failure to mitigate and to adapt. Africa needs to be engaged in the design of this area of negotiations. In Africa, very few people have formal insurance against climate impacts, and yet there are traditional systems for protecting genetic diversity, food security and access to water.

    We Have Faith calls on African negotiators to include provision for improving the policy environment to empower local systems of Loss & Damage protection and recovery methods. Loss and damage needs to be associated with other development priorities, such as the Millennium Development Goals which stand to be swamped by climate change vulnerability and impacts.

  8. The work programs on agriculture, Long-Term Finance, and Loss and Damage are ending this year and reporting back to the COP, and should encourage positions that support the disadvantaged status of developing countries, the Africa Group and the Least Developed Countries Group.

On Finance

  1. Africa is a wealthy continent, rich in natural resources. Africa must ensure that those who have polluted the global atmosphere are held responsible for repaying this debt to the planet, according to the common but differentiated responsibility principle. At the same time, it would be unwise to wait until former colonial powers take up their duties to help Africa cope with the impacts of climate change. African governments need to self-finance their climate adaptation and mitigation strategies, drawing on the diverse resources through domestic resource mobilisation from the State. These resources can be obtained from progressive tax systems such as increasing the tax from multinational corporations and the wealthy, financial transaction taxes, and regulation on capital flows, amongst others. Public awareness, early warning systems, and inclusive policy making do not cost more than current State fiscus obligations. Africa needs to shake off its ‘victim’ mentality in international negotiations and set new moral standards for leadership, good governance and transparency in the use of national wealth for long term well-being.

  2. Climate finance should be prioritised. Africa must insist on speeding up the collection and disbursement of the Green Climate Fund commitment of US$100bn per year by 2020 and Fast Start Finance (US$30bn) that was due for dissemination between 2010 – 2012. This finance should be structured so as to be new, additional, predictable and sustainable, prioritising poor and vulnerable countries.

  3. Those countries that committed to providing funds for the Green Climate Fund; the Adaptation Fund, and the Least Developed Country Fund should uphold their commitments and continue to make pledges to these funds since they currently lack money

  4. We call on the Standing Committee that manages financial mechanisms and the Work Programme on Long Term Finance to ensure that funds flow to developing countries, and to incorporate innovative funding mechanisms such as aviation and maritime taxes

  5. The private sector has a role to play in finance and therefore appropriate taxing and subsidy mechanisms need to be developed; likewise, the private sector and developed countries need to know that they money they provide is being effectively used and so the UNFCCC should provide clearer methods for Measuring, Reporting, and Verifying (MRV) mitigation actions.

"But seek, through that which Allah has given you, the home of the Hereafter;
and (yet), do not forget your share of the world.
And do good as Allah has done good to you.
And desire not corruption in the land.
Indeed, Allah does not like corruptors."

(Qur’an 28:77)

 

Botswana Council of Churches
www.bcc.co.bw     
Tel: +267 3951 981
Email: admin@bcc.co.bw / djmodiega@bcc.co.bw

Christian Council of Mozambique
Contact: Rev Marcos Macamo Efraim - efraimacamo@yahoo.com.br

Council of Swaziland Churches
Tel: + 268 505 3697
E-mail:c.o.c@africaonline.co.sz

Council of Churches Zambia
www.ccz.org.zm
Tel: +260 211 267 738 / +260 211 267 744
Email: info@ccz.org.zm

Diakonia Council of Churches
Contact: Karen Read - karenread@diakonia.org.za

Economic Justice Network
www.ejn.org.za
Tel: +27 21 424 9563
Email: admin@ejn.org.za

Indigenous Peoples of Africa Coordinating Committee
www.ipacc.org.za
Tel: +27 21 674 3262
Email: ipacc@iafrica.com

KwaZulu-Natal InterReligious Council
Contact: Rev. Sue Brittion - sueb@stjohnbaptist.co.za

Malawi Council of Churches
Tel: +265 177 34 99 / +265 177 21 07
Email: mipingo@malawi.net

South African Council of Churches
www.sacc.org.za
Tel: +27 11 241 7800
Email: support@sacc.org.za

 Southern African Faith Communities’ Environment Institute
www.safcei.org.za
Tel: +27 21 7018145
Email: coordinator@safcei.org.za

Western Cape Religious Leaders Forum
www.wcrlf.org
Tel: +27 21 462 2277
Email: wcrlf@iafrica.com

Zimbabwe Council of Churches
www.zcc.co.zw
Tel: +263 755 745 /  790 191
Contact: Ms Rosemary Munaki - rosemunaki@gmail.com

“Set me, O Earth, amidst the nourishing strength
That emanates from thy body.
The Earth is my mother, her child am I;
Infinite space is my father,
May he fill us with plenty.
Peaceful, sweet-smelling, gracious Earth.
Whatever I dig from thee, O Earth,
May that have quick growth again,
May we not injure your vitals or your heart.
Full of sweetness are the plants and full of sweetness these my words”

Hymn to the Earth - Atharva Veda Book XII

 

THE “WE HAVE FAITH” CAMPAIGN
We Have Faith – Act Now for Climate Justice , a strong and positive
message !

“We Have Faith – Act Now for Climate Change” was the name of a faith-based campaign leading up to COP 17 in Durban in November/December 2011. Using the momentum that the COP created, several activities were carried out in the name of climate justice. Through an Interfaith Rally in Durban; a Climate Caravan bringing 161 youth through Kenya, Tanzania, Malawi, Zambia and Botswana on the way to Durban, South Africa; Bicyclists from the South Africa border to Durban; concerts and workshops as well as meetings, capacity building, national and international advocacy work awareness on climate justice was raised throughout the continent. The final destination of the caravan was the Interfaith Rally at Kings Park in Durban and it was characterized by the handing over of petitions by Arch Bishop Desmond Tutu to the COP 17 President.

Read More

 

South African Council of Churches
Khotso House, Johannesburg

SACC WELCOMES HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION REPORT ON THE KILLING OF ANDRIES TATANE.

The South African Council of Churches (SACC) welcomes the findings of the report by the Human Rights Commission regarding the killing of Mr Andries Tatane as an appreciable step in the direction of securing and protecting basic human rights of all South African citizens enshrined in the constitution. It is clear from the report that the use of excessive force on the unarmed Tatane was unwarranted. There is therefore no justification why Tatane was killed at the time when he was simply exercising his constitutional right of protest against things in society that he found appalling and dehumanizing.

We appeal to members of the South African Police Service to learn to understand that all human life comes from God and that all effort must always be made in all circumstances to respect and protect it against any harm and destruction. It is a sacred gift that is given once to one person at a time by one super being, God. Our appeal also goes to Government to prioritise the re-training of police in public order management because this is becoming a worrying factor in this country. We lose life when we could have easily preserved it.

Issued by the Office of the General Secretary on 01 November 2012.

 

Rev Mautji Pataki
SACC General Secretary

 

Press Release
19 October 2012

SACC Mourns Thomas Madigage.

Message of Condolence on the Occasion of the Death of Mr Thomas Madigage

The South African Council of Churches receives the death of Bafana Bafana Assistant Coach, Mr. Thomas Madigage, with a deep sense of loss and sadness. Madigage displayed his love for our country when he accepted the national call to be part of those to improve our soccer ratings in the world. In our view he carried himself well in this assignment for he was a patriot.

We commend his family to God in prayer. We pray for Bafana Bafana Team, SAFA and the entire soccer fraternity for God’s strength through this trying time.

We pray that God with all the heavenly company receive him warmly and reward him with the heavenly crown.

May his soul rest in peace.

 

Rev. Mautji Pataki
General Secretary

 

SACC invites your participation in its new-established
Church-Support programme
*SACC Mjikelo/Mnikelo Fund* 

·Main Objective
To assist local churches, particularly in rural and informal settlement areas to
develop physical infrastructure and church-based community projects
throughout South Africa.
Donation Amount - R5 (Five Rand)
Send SMS The name of you Church and Town to 36355 now and your donation will be recorded with SACC.

*How to Make a Donation Now*
SMS “Name of Church”, “Name of Town” to 36355
To make a donation of R5

 

Presentation at the South African Medical Association Conference by SACC General Secretary in Pretoria
25 August 2012, South Africa.


Rev. Mautji Pataki

A recent newspaper article captioned, “Fine hospital not working”, reads as follows:

“The state-of-the-art Bertha Gxowa Hospital was opened in November last year as part of a revamp and extension of the old Germiston Hospital. Since then the hospital has not been fully functional. Patients have been housed in the adjacent Germiston Hospital building.

Bertha Gxowa has until this week only been providing pharmacy services, an antenatal clinic, outpatients clinic and chronic illness clinic. The hospital also boasts a Home Affairs birth registration office, a lounge for new fathers and a mortuary, all of which have not been used.
When Sowetan visited the hospital this week only one of the four lifts of the public was working. Outpatients had to bring their own food as there was no canteen.
Some public toilets were not flushing.

Maternity emergencies were still being referred to the old Germiston Hospital.

The beds in the new wards were not occupied. According to staff patients were to be moved to the new building this week.
The old building is in disrepair. The walls are cracking and the toilets filthy. The only public lift was not working.
Jacqueline McDonald, a patient for two weeks, said conditions were disgusting.
"We are about 20 in my ward and we fight over the two toilets. Some patients soil themselves in their beds because the toilets are always busy or not working at all," said McDonald. "We also bring our own linen because the laundry machine is faulty."
Hospital CEO Christina Mndaweni did not want speak about the cause for the delay.
"We've had a few snags at the new building and there's no point talking about them now as they have been fixed," she said. "We are starting to move some of the 149 patients and we hope to finish by Friday (today)."
The communication office of the Gauteng department of health failed to comment yesterday”
-Sowetan 24 August 2012

This story is not uncommon in this country and so for purposes of this presentation I have elected to use this particular case study to analyse the problems that we have regarding the implementation of Clause 27.1(a) of our Constitution which states in part that, “Everyone has the right to have access to health care services…”.
And because access and the provision of health care services is a basic human right question, articles such as the one I have just cited violates such right making it a legal offence on the part of the service provider not to provide such services.

There are a few points that this case study raises:
Government has voted a huge budget to build the hospital – which is highly commendable. And when government arrived at such a decision, one would have assumed that a lot of planning had been put in place with regard to how and when the hospital would start to provide health care services to the community – something that the current situation suggests wasn’t done. So, we have projects in this country that are embarked upon and yet carried out without proper planning.
Whereas it is fundamentally very wrong, it remains uncommon in this country to find toilets in a health care facility not flushing or functioning. In this state-of-the-art hospital, people who are already vulnerable are trapped with a high possibility of contracting new infections and diseases as the result of a very poor hygienic environment. There is no justification that could be made for more than 20 patients to line up for one toilet at a time in an environment when some could be running diarrhea or even vomiting.

Similar to the Limpopo experience, it is becoming fashionable in this country for patients to bring along their own linen and food to a hospital facility. People within the medical and health care environment would know better that when you are in hospital, you eat what is prescribed to you by the doctor. In other words there is a high possibility that people continue to eat what might have actually caused their conditions of illness even when they are hospitalized. And, this trend would obviously take us ten steps backwards even when there are attempts to provide solutions to the ailing patients. Our spending therefore on such patients may be fruitless.

It is a violation of the people’s right to care that they continue to bring along their own linen to hospital on the basis that laundry machines do not function. In certain instances I am aware that such laundry services are outsourced to certain individuals through the public tender system which is a nightmare in this country. And because some people are contracted to do services for which they are not qualified we continue to be confronted with situations such as this even within the health care sector where sensitivity must remain a priority because this is about preservation of life.

Then our Case Study refers to the CEO who refuses to share with the public why these things are happening in a public hospital. As the end users of these facilities, the public has the right to know why their facilities are not providing services to them. However, as Minister Motsoaledi of the National Health Department would argue, government has in place CEOs of hospital who are less knowledgeable with the environment in which they work. His argument has always been to remove such people and replace them with those who qualify to run hospitals. For me this is a commendable move and the Minister must be supported on this one.
It is not about anything against teachers and priests but it is about bringing the much needed stability to an environment that require certain sensitivities for it to function professionally.

If it is the CEO who refuses to explain to the public about the condition of the hospital, who else will? Where is confidence in this official? Where is the capacity?
Without digressing from the subject, this week we were in Wonderkop where as we know a massacre of mineworkers took place. When we visited government mortuary to assist in the process of body identification we could only regret the appalling conditions under which the facility is. The refrigerator was just not coping resulting in a stench all over the place. The staff was also not helpful – putting the bereaved families under additional stress at the time when their anxiety to identify their loved one was already very high. We just do not have a committed, alert and diligent public servant within the public sector – and this does not only refer to health – however it is not only painful but unacceptable for bereaved people to suffer emotionally at the hands of the public service.

Minister Motsoaledi was there and he definitely witnessed what I am talking about here.
What I find concerning and very frustrating even at this stage is that even the Gauteng Department of Health has failed to communicate with the public on the situation at Bertha Gxowa hospital. This is taking the public for granted if it does not border on sheer arrogance by people who have been given the responsibility to dispense services to the public.

This picture that I have painted here is not only found within the domain of health care in this country but cuts across our public life. You will notice that I have not even referred to poor staffing where some hospitals do with very few doctors making it difficult for those who work to perform their duties in a diligent manner. I have also not referred to situations where even medicine runs short making it difficult for patience to remain consistent with the prescribed treatment. Some of you would know that in Limpopo a lot of medication couldn’t leave the storage for distribution with some long expired. And, when things turn out this way, no one accepts responsibility.

As I conclude I need to share my views on the morality of this story and the case study. It is unethical and quite immoral that in a country where there is such massive resources to dispense on the public, end users are unable to access such for their ultimate benefit. While we know that those who depend and rely on the private health care do good to receive services on the basis of affordability and class, those who are poor and vulnerable are made further to suffer at the hands of poor planning and lack of diligence and capacity on the part of the public service.

South Africa remains an unequal society. I am aware that amongst others, the National Health Insurance seeks to attend to this question – which again is very commendable.

But it is not only good policies but their implementation which will bring change in the lives of many South Africans who suffer and die regularly as a result of poor health care provision. As a nation, we need to move away from this and ensure that hospitals do not become a centre of corrupt tendencies but of professional services.

 

Press Statement

16 August 2012

SACC Calls for a Peaceful Resolution of Lonmin’s Dispute.

Today the SACC delegation led by the President Bishop Jo Seoka and the General Secretary Rev. Mautji Pataki paid a pastoral and fact-finding mission to both the workers and management at Lonmin Mines in Marikana, North West Province.

The impression we gained is that both parties are willing to engage one another provided the level of hostility is reduced to allow peaceful interaction and resolution. The SACC has committed itself to assist in creating an atmosphere conducive for negotiations to proceed.

However, SACC is disappointed that at the time when it appeared that there was an opportunity for the parties to find each other, violence erupted and we are told several people lost life while others suffered injuries. This is the route we have always tried to avoid in any situation of conflict.

We call upon the Police to exercise restraint in the use of force as they seek to maintain law and order. We also call upon workers and management to resume negotiations as a matter of urgency. The SACC maintains that it is only through meaningful and peaceful dialogue that all parties affected by this conflict can find a solution.

Our prayers go to all the bereaved families and all whose members sustained injuries. We hope that through their pain and loss, peace will return to the people of Marikana.

Released by the Office of the General Secretary

Rev. Mautji Pataki
General Secretary

For more information, please contact:
Communications Department – 011 241 7804

The Post Article Read More:

SACC visits Marikana mine

August 17 2012 at 02:09pm 
By Meggan Saville

 

SOUTH AFRICAN COUNCIL OF CHURCH YOUTH FORUM

On behalf of the SACCYF we would like to call on all churches to dedicate this coming Sunday as Black Sunday for miners of Lonmin Mine in Madikana. Our sincere condolences to the families who through the barrel of SAPS found themselves all of sudden fatherless, brotherless and without husbands. The SACCYF rejects any form of killing in any form meted against citizens of South Africa.

We call on religious communities to immediately dedicate a moment of silence to mourn and to be in solidarity with families of those short from this afternoons prayers of our Islamic communities, to the day of Sabbath of our Jewish Communities and our Christian communities on Sunday. May God’s accompaniment heal the wounded and the families & friends who have lost the loved ones….

********************************************
SOUTH AFRICA COUNCIL OF CHURCHES YOUTH FORUM (SACCYF)
Physical Address: Khotso House, 62 Marshall Street, Johannesburg, South Africa
Postal Address: P.O Box 62098, Marshalltown, 2107, South Africa
E-mail: saccyf@gmail.com
           saccyouthforum@gmail.com
Office Number: +2711 241 7808 / 32

 

Ecumenical Reflections

Author: Rev. Lea Marumo

Ordained Minister of the Methodist Church of Southern Africa.

Currently pursuing Masters Degree in Systematic Theology, University of Pretoria.
She is happily married to Festus and they are blessed with two boys; she also ministers a small community in the Fourways Circuit.

“These are the hands of mothers, women of South Africa…”
Revelation 21:3-5

South Africa has officialised eleven languages from which we may draw a picture of a country, comprising assorted cultures, diversified and colourful. A country that has conceded a human right to all its citizens. A democratic country that permits certain human behaviours within its compass of propriety. Simply put, it is a beautiful country that precepts wholeness and tranquillity in all its Provinces. Hence, the process of rectification of the past damages takes place to correct and highlight its inner beauty.

It is a right of every country to dream the best for its people. Scripture teaches us that no one is perfect, therefore neither is a nation. Galatians 2:17 (MSG), “Have some of you noticed that we are not yet perfect?”

I, for one, have noticed that this country is far from perfect. Having said that, I would like to highlight some of the issues women in South Africa face, utilizing practical experiences women endure day in and day out. Issues of Culture; Home Support; Modelled Expectation; Societal Stigma and Abuse.

READ MORE

 

Press Release
16 August 2012

The SACC President, the General Secretary and other members of the Executive Committee will be visiting the Lonmin mine in Marikana in the North West today; following the on-going strike by workers.

Where 10 people - two police officers, two security guards, three protesters and three other men - have been killed ever since.

 

For more information, please contact:
Rev. Mautji Pataki
0112417800

SACC General Secretary

 

SACC condemns the killing of Fayaaz Kazi
13 August 2012

SACC condemns the killing of Fayaaz Kazi and call on the police and the NPA to ensure that justice is meted against the perpetrators of this crime.”

The SACC is deeply concerned about certain individuals within our society who use religion to either attack or discriminate against others. We find it very disturbing that the death of Mohammed Fayaaz Kazi of Magaliesberg is linked to Islamphobic remarks at a time when religious groups in this country have always co-operated together under the National Religious Leaders’ Forum.

This is a Forum where dialogue, debate and religious engagement on social issues advances tolerance among all religious groups in our country. We therefore condemn acts that are intended to work against the values of this Forum.

The SACC therefore calls upon all Christians and members of other religious groups to remain focused on nation-building and condemn all incidents intended to cause tension and divisions based on religion in this country.

Our religious diversity is rich and has to be used to glorify God and build peace and a united society.

 

Rev Mautji Pataki
SACC General Secretary


Press Release
16 August 2012

The SACC President, the General Secretary and other members of the Executive Committee will be visiting the Lonmin mine in Marikana in the North West today; following the on-going strike by workers.

Where 10 people - two police officers, two security guards, three protesters and three other men - have been killed ever since.

 

For more information, please contact:
Rev. Mautji Pataki
0112417800

SACC General Secretary

 

 

SACC condemns the killing of Fayaaz Kazi
13 August 2012

SACC condemns the killing of Fayaaz Kazi and call on the police and the NPA to ensure that justice is meted against the perpetrators of this crime.”

The SACC is deeply concerned about certain individuals within our society who use religion to either attack or discriminate against others. We find it very disturbing that the death of Mohammed Fayaaz Kazi of Magaliesberg is linked to Islamphobic remarks at a time when religious groups in this country have always co-operated together under the National Religious Leaders’ Forum.

This is a Forum where dialogue, debate and religious engagement on social issues advances tolerance among all religious groups in our country. We therefore condemn acts that are intended to work against the values of this Forum.

The SACC therefore calls upon all Christians and members of other religious groups to remain focused on nation-building and condemn all incidents intended to cause tension and divisions based on religion in this country.

Our religious diversity is rich and has to be used to glorify God and build peace and a united society.

 

Rev Mautji Pataki
SACC General Secretary

 

Press Statement                                                           
24 July 2012

 

SACC EXPRESSES CONCERN AT THE MUNICIPALITY AUDIT REPORT AND CALLS FOR RADICAL CHANGE OF SYSTEMS

SACC is deeply concerned and dismayed that there appears to be no improvement on the part of several Municipalities to improve how public finances are managed. Led by the recent Auditor’s Report where issues of skills, professionalism, competence and diligence are questioned, there is every indication that service delivery and resource wastage will still continue if no decisive intervention is made. It is a trend that must be brought to an end if the people of this country are to be taken seriously.

At the core of our protest at this report is the fact that Government fails to provide proper stewardship on how public resources are supposed to be managed. Our contest is that these resources are meant to benefit the poor of the poorest and if it is this category of our communities whose lives are failed and destroyed by corruption and incompetence, then it raises both a moral and ethical question.

In support of COSATU’s call for a public dialogue on this matter, we call upon Government to make intervention through a commission of enquiry and identify all those who are found to be in jobs they do not qualify to hold and place them in areas where their skills are required. The policy of cadre deployment must also be reviewed with urgency to ensure that right people occupy right positions and that corrupt appointments are curbed. Those who just do not qualify to do anything must also be removed. The whole system must be overhauled in the interest of the poor and those who even in this democracy fail to access social services. Those found to have committed criminal offenses must be charged.

Unless we call upon these radical measures, communities continue to be deprived of their hard-earned democratic rights.

 

Released in Johannesburg by the Office of the General Secretary

 

Rev. Mautji Pataki
General Secretary

 

South African Council of Churches

Khotso House, Johannesburg

Press Release
03 July 2012

The Repositioning of SACC.

In line with the resolution of the Triennial National Conference of the SACC which calls for the restructuring, transformation and repositioning of the SACC, aggravated by lack of funds to sustain the work of the Council, National Executive Committee (NEC) took decision, among others, to downsize the organisation with effect from 31 July 2012.

With the ecumenical developments facing the church globally, the reduction of overseas funding and the new social challenges that are emerging in the world, it has become very apparent and urgent for SACC to transform, restructure and reposition itself as a viable churches’ vehicle for public witness. This envisaged task will not be easily accomplished if churches were to rely on “old wineskins” for the “new wine”.

Although this process brings along excitement, newness of ideas and ways of doing ecumenical work within the 21st century, anxiety is seeded in the decision to part ways with members of staff who have been for many years loyal to the cause for which the SACC stands in this country.
Unlike in the previous years, the renewed SACC will depend largely on local funding for carrying out its mission and work in society. Member Churches will be responsive and take full ownership of the Council including designing programmes and canvassing for membership growth while a long-term turn- around strategy will be developed for the self-sustainability of the Council.

We call upon the South African public to assist the Council financially and never allow its legacy to diminish as we are convinced it still has a mission to accomplish in this society today.

Released by the General Secretary’s Office

Rev. Mautji Pataki
General Secretary

 

South African Council of Churches

Khotso House, Johannesburg
06.06.2012

Government Treats the People of Bethulie with Disdain.

More or less than 10 families who live in sewage flooded Bethulie in Free State Province are victims of a government system that has failed but also a grim reminder of how God’s people can be treated with disdain by those who have power over them. 

Bethulie’s story is one of agony and pain where some families fail to access their homes due to a flooding sewage which has been neglected for over many years. We even learn that these people are unable to prepare meals or enjoy peaceful sleep because of the unbearable stench that has come to define their environment.

The South African Council of Churches calls upon the local government authorities to act with speed and ensure that the health of these people is safeguarded. We are aware that government has all the resources at its disposal to repair the mainhole thus guaranteeing good health to the children in that surrounding.

These and many other services that government neglects is a grave concern to us because of our belief in this democratic dispensation where it is expected of government to put the needs of the people first.

Released by the Office of The General Secretary

Rev. Mautji Pataki
General Secretary

 

We Have Faith

WE HAVE FAITH CAMPAIGN >> Objectives:

  1. To strengthen and mobilise faith communities around climate justice and sustainability.
  2. To elevate the unified voice of faith communities to national and international platforms.
  3. To influence national and international climate and environmental processes through ensuring that the negotiations have a spiritual and moral basis.
  4. To bring the faith language of spirituality, morality and ethics to the sustainable development and green economy discourse.
  5. To raise awareness, provide educational support and motivate action from local people of faith on issues of climate change and sustainability.

We have faith campaign
Statement from members of the faith communities of southern Africa, meeting to discuss
“A green economy for sustainable development and poverty eradication” in preparation for Rio+20 and beyond,

Johannesburg on 14 and 15 May 2012.

As people of faith, we must set an example and do what is right. We long for legally binding treaties that protect vulnerable People and Planet and strive for intergenerational equity for the community of all life on Earth. We call on world leaders and decision makers when they meet to deliberate on the Green Economy at Rio+20, to be guided by the spiritual and ethical principles of justice, equity, compassion and love for all life on the planet, and to treat the Earth with respect, resist disorder, co-operate and live in peace with one another.

 The Earth Charter reminds us that “When basic needs have been met, human development is primarily about being more, not having more”. In a world driven by
 short term greed and self-interest, we must promote the idea of sufficiency, provide ethical and responsible leadership and affect change in a world suffering
 from climate and ecological injustice. This must happen individually, in our families, in our communities, our countries, on our continent and globally.

 There are many ways of valuing our planetary life support systems which allow for the flourishing of human health and wellbeing. The Green Economy talks of natural capital but people of faith know that nature is beyond monetary value and it cannot be reduced to a commodity or only valued for its commercial worth.

 The human community is an intricate part of the web of life with which we share the planet. Legal rights should be applied to Mother Earth and the whole community of life, not just people.

 Sustainable Development can only be realised if human social and economic wellbeing is achieved within the limits of the earth’s natural systems. Spirituality must be at the core and underpin the principles of sustainable development in order to ensure that future decision making is ethical and not driven by short term vested financial interests.

 We inhabit a finite planet. Our economic system, based on growth and irresponsible consumption, measured by GDP, and couched in the language of the Green Economy, has created an immoral divide between the rich and poor and is unsustainable. An ethical Economy of Sustainability requires a paradigm shift in thinking, focussing on human development, environmental restitution and planetary wellbeing rather than financial profit.

 While recognising the key role technology has played in human progress, we need to acknowledge that over time, technological ‘solutions’ have also been the cause of ecological catastrophes. People of faith call on scientists, government institutions and business to respect and work with nature’s diversity, applying the precautionary principle when introducing human invented technological ingenuity to ‘solve’ problems.

 Community wellbeing and peaceful societies are the product of participatory democracy and accountable governance. People of faith must become integral role-players in building sustainable communities.

 We face a global climate catastrophe, which is likely to manifest some of its worst effects on the African continent. Leaders of nations that have benefited, or continue to benefit, from a development path based on high greenhouse gas emissions, need to acknowledge and repay ecological debt owed to vulnerable communities and the planet.

 We must not lose sight of the target of keeping the global average temperature rise below two degrees and preserving the Earth’s vibrant cultural and natural diversity.


The ‘We have faith’ campaign from Africa and around the world calls communities of faith to rise up and take action to:

 Demand greater public investment to promote energy efficiency and renewable energy so that it is accessible and affordable to all, not just those who can afford market related prices.

 Be a voice for the voiceless in a human-centred world where money and greed sanction the insatiable exploitation of Earth’s bounty and vulnerable people.

 Safeguard nature’s storehouse through ensuring the ‘sustainable’ use of our planetary life support systems, being guided by the principles of need, not want.

 Pressurise historic and current large greenhouse gas emitters to assume their historical responsibility and honour their ecological debt as a basis for a just transition to a sustainable and equitable economy.

 Acknowledge, respect and celebrate the incalculable value of cultural and biological diversity and in doing so, support the rights of indigenous communities and promote the recognition of sacred sites, sanctuaries and wilderness areas.

 Explore alternative and traditional faith based economic systems that would inform an ethical approach to greater equity and human and planetary wellbeing.

 Promote an alternative economic system based on solidarity economics, respect for nature and economics that serves the community of life not profit.

 Establish a more just and participatory democracy where communities are involved in decision-making processes and can influence decision makers in order to work for the good of the commons.

 Promote a culture and practice of zero waste which is modelled on nature where nothing is wasted. Polluters must be held accountable, by cleaning up and paying for their spoil.

Steering committee:
www.ejn.org.za or www.safcei.org.za or www.sacc.org.za

 

June 16 - South Africa

Reflections on June 16
About the Author: Rev Dr Ben Khumalo-Seegelken,
Edendale Lay Ecumenical Centre (1972-1975),
Convenor of Bible-Translation Project “Biblia Zuluensis”,
Lecturer and Researcher - Theology and Social Sciences,
Carl von Ossietzky University, Oldenburg, Germany

 “…put it into practice!”
James 1:22

Soon almost half of this year is over; the next half is more or less already at hand - a series of eventful and tumultuous weeks and months have come to pass as we are about to conclude the second decade on democratic grounds.  Having gone through such times and having reached such milestones one feels the need to hold on for a while and take a short glance backward and forward before gathering strength once more to face the challenges of the day.

A hint I have cherished since my childhood comes to mind: “Do not fool [yourself] by just listening to His word.” stands in the Letter from James, chapter 1, verse 22, and goes on: “Instead, put it into practice!”  

Recalling that hint in June 2012, I realise once more:

‘Lost generation?’

Girls and boys of 14 to 16 in school-uniform who stood up in protest in 1976 and dared resist and confront shooting police-forces in Soweto, Langa and elsewhere are, if they did survive, adults in the meantime – most of them parents and some even grandparents – today, 18 years since that morning in 1994 on which they also woke up and went for the first time with everybody else to cast their vote as citizens in an emerging democratic state. The strides we took that day gave our country a new face and helped open new horizons not only for us and our immediate offspring, but – as we have come to realise -  also for our neighbours the world over for generations to come!       

With the survivors of ‘June 1976’ we rejoice in witnessing the tradition of striving for justice and peace gaining maturity in our midst; we remember with gratitude and high esteem those who gave their lives, we commemorate the strives and struggles of those days, weeks, months and years with the youth of today and particularly those of them coming of age this year, rejoice particularly with the African National Congress for goals reached with and through them over the last 100 years and pray for a good future for us all – including more especially those that we very often seem to have written off in the meantime, having labelled them ‘the lost generation’ and continuing marginalising them in every respect.  

Recalling together the hint from the ‘Letter from James’ in June 2012 might, I wish, confront us with the necessity to revisit the sources and re-examine the teachings underlying our being today. Our eyes, our ears and our hearts might, in that process, rediscover the multitudes in our country that we might not overlook, if the road ahead were to lead to worthwhile horizons for us all – including those we occasionally term and marginalise as ‘minorities’.  

Home again!
  
“Meeting half-way to return home - or to proceed - together”, said MaDlamini, explaining to a guest from a partner-congregation in Germany visiting her village, Vulindela near Pietermaritzburg, recently. The residents of that semi-rural settlement had been undergoing a cleansing-ceremony as one of the steps towards “ukuBuyisana” – ‘burying the hatchet’ and trying to reconcile after over 16 years of ‘civil war’ that had ruined everything and terrified everyone right up to 1996 in that district.  These efforts of breaking the silence and finding words and tokens of dealing with the evils of the past in order to be able to live together today in peace, attract the attention of people in many countries today who are faced with similar challenges as we were especially up to the advent of democracy 18 years ago.  MaDlamini has - not very long ago – conversed also with some visitors from Palestine and others from Damascus and Mogadishu, all wishing to reach home one day – back home hopefully soon.
     

The world under our roofs

Guests from all over are no longer that seldom in some homes in our country today; some visit the victims of farm-evictions, “abaHlali baseMjondolo” in the Western Cape and elsewhere, talk to students, parents and workers in controversies for example at the Free State University and to demonstrating mine-workers and non-government organisations with a variety of concerns, they worship with their hosts in rural villages, on farms and in ‘townships’ in Limpopo, in the Cape Flats, in Lusikisiki, Diepkloof and Sandton in Gauteng, Hartbeespoort in North-West. 

“In almost every home and every school,” one youth-volunteer from the Netherlands reports, “in almost every neighbourhood and every region throughout the country people seem to be gathering new strength and many are, indeed, steadily standing up and taking steps in the sense of – as they say – ‘ukuBuyisana’ – ‘turning a new leaf and reconciling.’Practically no one seems to have chosen to remain sitting where the conflicts of yesterday left them.  South Africa is, indeed, in motion!”  Horrible incidents of children, women, aged and disabled as victims of neglect, insult, intimidation, coercion, assault and murder have nonetheless not decreased by any measures worth mentioning.

The two short sentences in James’ hint are likely to give the misleading impression, as if the reader would instantly and perhaps always know, what it is that has to be done in implementing good teachings and principles.   

Praying and toiling together

I listen to our guests and realise: Men and women all over the globe look at us and watch attentively; many wish us well and pray with and for us that our endeavours at gaining new strength and setting forth the good path towards a stable and peaceful future be at least as successful as the breakthrough 18 years ago.  Some of them kneeled with us as we prayed and toiled with us as we struggled in the darkest hours right back in 1976, in 1948, in 1910 and earlier; they pronounce the same calls and pleas with us before God with regard to those of our children going with an empty stomach to school and dreadful notions to bed, having hardly any prospect of once someday earning enough for a living in dignity and security -  calls and pleas with us before God with regard to many who live in fear in the face of greed, hatred and violence.  We uphold the call: “Yizwa imithandazo yethu!”

Yes, towards the end of the first half of this eventful year, I also hear concerned voices in homes and congregations in the member-churches of the South African Council of Churches (SACC), deliberating and guessing whether and how they as bearers of hope could gather new strength and stand up again to keep pace with the community they have been part of up to this day.  The future seems insecure. 

The youth of yesterday, the adults of today within the SACC-family will hopefully not have to go it alone revisiting the sources and re-examining the teachings and the hints that have kept so many of us –  all of us as a country before and after 1976, 1948, 1910 and earlier - above water and above waters to the present day. 

Makube njalo! [Amen].

>> iThuba-Nhlahla eMzansi-Afrika

 

South African Council of Churches
Khotso House, Johannesburg

24 May 2012


Press Statement on President Zuma's hurt

The breakdown of President Jacob Zuma’s lawyer Advocate Gcina Malindi during the court proceedings in the South Gauteng High Court earlier today is yet another demonstration that this matter does not only pose legal but moral and ethical challenge to our nascent democratic dispensation.

The South African Council of Churches (SACC) has repeatedly cautioned that we have so many incidents in this country that are legally justifiable and yet morally and ethically repugnant and very offensive. Whereas we live and are governed by the rule of law human life is also a spiritual gift filled with emotion and affection – which demands of us to apply law within the context of human values.

By producing this particular painting where the genitals of President Zuma are exposed, Brett Murray has not only violated Mr Zuma’s human rights but his “inside person”. It has therefore not come as a surprise that Advocate Malindi broke down in court – an indication that what is being debated is not only a legal matter but one that has a human face and therefore emotive.

Our plea to Brett Murray is if he could see sense and logic by apologizing to the President and the nation  for this hurt and allow himself to see what he might not have seen at the time he conceptualized the painting. Often it occurs in life to hurt others unintentionally and when his actions have been exposed to be achieving hurt and destruction, it would be a noble act to our nation for Murray to withdraw the painting and apologise without any conditions.

Our democracy is still very fragile because other cultures have undermined and hurt others for a very long time. Therefore sensitivity and caution have to be exercised each time through our relations. Those who look down upon others and fail to see the world through the eyes of others will always miss the opportunity to learn.

Our nation is such that we need to respect each other not because the constitution says so but because we are all human and made of God’s image. We have agreed that we belong together and therefore no one must feel or do such things that would elevate them above the rest. Ours is a hurting history.
Released by the Office of the General Secretary

Rev. Mautji Pataki
General Secretary

 

Zuma Artwork

South African Council of Churches

Khotso House, Johannesburg
Press Statement
18/05/2012
SACC calls for  apology from Goodman Gallery on its artwork of President Zuma


The South African Council of Churches (SACC) is irked and finds the artwork by Goodman Gallery not only insulting of the President but distasteful in the extreme. The picture is not only denigrating to President Zuma alone but to all those who respect fellow human beings and never express their feelings in a hateful manner to anyone.

This artwork is a classical picture of what hate can achieve when it rules the mind. President Zuma, even if Goodman Gallery hold a different view to what he represents, does not deserve to be undressed in public and made to be an object at a time when his task is to lead our nation.

This is an unethical conduct on the part of Goodman Gallery and no amount of justification will make it correct to depict anybody in this manner.

The SACC is entirely not impressed and would be very happy to receive a public apology from those who have designed this dehumanizing picture. Even if it were not President Zuma but someone else, the SACC would still demand an apology in order to restore to the victim the lost dignity.

Released by the Office of the general Secretary

Rev. Mautji Pataki
General Secretary

 

Limpopo Department of Education

South African Council of Churches

Khotso House, Johannesburg
Press Release
17/05/2012

SACC Welcomes Court Ruling on Limpopo Department of Education

The South African Council of Churches (SACC) welcomes the court ruling against the Limpopo Department of Education for failing to provide text books to students in many schools across the Province.

As said before, we still find it irresponsible, unjustifiable and a blatant dereliction of duty for the department to fail to provide learners with learning material. For any learner to fail because they had no learning material is tantamount to treason because it goes against the grain of improving other peoples’ living conditions in a Province where illiteracy rate is on the high.

Education is life; and knowledge allows God’s people to live in the light than darkness.

Released by the Office of the General Secretary

Rev. Mautji Pataki
General Secretary

Read More...

 

 

South African Council of Churches

Khotso House, Johannesburg

30/04/2012
Media Statement
SACC Mourns the death of Former Minister Sicelo Shiceka

The South African Council of Churches receives the news on the death of the former Minister of Co-operative Governance, Mr. Sicelo Shiceka with  deep sadness and a sense of loss.
As we uphold his family in prayers and we also wish the nation could come to terms with his passing on.  We thank God for his life and his availability to have served the nation.

May his soul rest in peace.

Released by the Office of the General Secretary

Rev. Mautji Pataki
General Secretary

 

 

 

e-tolling

  e-Tolling - SACC Official Statement

Khotso House, Johannesburg

Press Release
26 April 2012
SACC welcomes government’s announcement to postpone the implementation of e-tolling in Gauteng.

The South African Council of Churches welcomes the government’s decision to put on hold the implementation of the e-tolling system in Gauteng Province as a courageous step in the right direction on how to take seriously the concerns raised by citizens on this matter.

We call on both SANRAL and the Department of Transport to consult on a re-designed a model of funding that will not burden motorists and other road users who are already overstretched.

Released by the Office of the General Secretary

Rev. Mautji Pataki
General Secretary

 

 

 

Go Green

SACC Parliamentary Officer appointed to African People's
Charter for Climate Justice Interim Committee
     
 

The SACC deems it a privilege for Revd. Keith Vermeulen to have been appointed to the Interim Steering Committee continuing work on the draft African People's Charter for Climate Change.

Within the Interim Committee, Revd. Vermeulen will work closely with the Peoples Budget Campaign sectors - COSATU, SACC and SANGOCO - in order to advance further discussion on the Charter to be available  for the Rio+20 Earth Summit, 20-22 June 2012. The draft Charter is based on principles of the rights of nature that emerged from Cochabamba Summit 2010. 

The Interim Steering Committee will seek to further develop the Draft prior to discussions with other communities working for climate justice and mitigation of climate change. The South African Council of Churches is committed to listening to and including the voices of African indigenous communities - the Cape Khoi, Nama, Griqua, Korana and San - within the draft Charter.

The draft Charter emerged from discussions on climate change held with different communities throughout South Africa aboard on the Climate Train before, during and after COP 17 in December 2011.

The Climate Train was a project of climate change awareness run by South Africa's Environmental Agency, Indalo Yethu.
 

 

 

 


South African Council of Churches
Khotso House, Johannesburg
Press Statement

25 April 2012

SACC Welcomes the Report on Press Regulation in South Africa

The SACC welcomes the recommendation by the Press Freedom Commission (PFC) to have a co-regulated press by both the media and members of the public. The exclusion of government from this model is highly appreciated while the involvement of the public will give the Press Council of South Africa (PCSA) more credibility.

The SACC further commends the PFC for having taken into consideration the protection of children in its formulation of the Press Code. No country in the can be respectable and honoured unless it takes care of its children and the more vulnerable.

It is reassuring that those who will continue to violate the Press Code and act in all manner that negates the constitutional rights of citizens will be punished. We are an agency that supports accountability of the press and this recommendation gives us hope that the situation in the press room will improve so that the people are God are served with the dignity they deserve.

 

Released by the Office of the General Secretary

 Rev. Mautji Pataki
General Secretary

 

 

 


South African Council of Churches

Khotso House, Johannesburg
Press Statement for Media Release
23 April 2012

SACC tackles Financial Literacy in partnership with Financial Services Board.

Tomorrow, Tuesday the 24 April, the SACC in partnership with the Financial Service Board (FSB) will launch the Consumer Financial Literacy Programme at Khotso House – SACC Head Office in Johannesburg. Proceedings which will be addressed by among others, the General Secretary of SACC and the Executive Officer of FSB will begin at 10h00 followed by a Press Conference at 11h30.

The focus of this partnership will be the rolling-out of sustainable, educational programmes to empower communities with information on financial matters. This will enable communities to make sound and informed decisions on how to use their finances including the importance of savings in a financial environment where the economic system consistently breeds poor people.

While educating consumers about good financial stewardship, we shall also lobby and advocate for good ethical practices within the financial institutions, calling them to promote and reaffirm the positive and ethical values, uphold the culture of honesty, truth-telling when marketing their products, urging them to adhere to moral integrity when conducting their business and showing compassion to their clients.

Both SACC and FSB will use the partnership to instil similar values in the life of the Church through training and public campaigns. The output and outcomes of the programme will improve the spiritual growth of participants and their relationship with money. Training will be conducted by several professionals relevant to the programme.

At the ultimate, the programme will:

  • give priority to the needs of the poor,
  • work for social, economic and political justice and
  • ensure that we create a safe sustainable environment for people to exercise

their economic rights.

  • educate communities to make informed decisions on financial matters in particular on occasions of death and bereavement. 
  • To educate people to desist from unnecessary expenditure during bereavement.

 

Released by the Office of the General Secretary

Rev. Mautji Pataki
General Secretary

 

 

 

  South African Council of Churches

  Khotso House, Johannesburg

  Press Statement for Immediate Release

SACC Outraged by the Gang Rape of a Soweto 17 Year old Girl
18 April 2012

The South African Council of Churches finds the gang raping of a 17 year old girl in Soweto to be an outrageous and despicable incident that calls for outright condemnation from all sectors of our society. We are angry and worried that this society continues to give birth to people who have no regard for the sacredness of human life as God’s gift.

How else and what more should we say about these people in our society whose lifestyle is shaped by violence and brutality – people who trample upon others’ human dignity, rights and freedom to the extent of making mockery of our constitutional liberties.

We call upon the church community in Soweto and all over the country to go on an offensive and refuse criminality a space within society. Freedom Day, the Church is called upon to occupy streets in solidarity with those whose freedoms are denied and organize at the local level. Until prayer dominates our lifestyle, it will be hard to clean our streets of people who are bent of making it difficult for others to enjoy their freedoms and liberties.

Released by the Office of The General Secretary

Rev. Mautji Pataki
General Secretary

 

 

 

Banning of Alcohol Ads

South African Council of Churches

Khotso House, Johannesburg
Press Statement
16 April 2012

  Ban on Liquor Adverts

The South African Council of Churches (SACC) is both concerned and shocked at the seemingly malicious intention of those who already leak and pre-empt the discussions on the content of the Control of Marketing of Alcoholic Beverages Bill as a way of swaying the public to influence the process which is still at a drafting stage. The Business Day headline, “Battle looms over shock move to ban liquor ads” is a case in point.

We are aware how highly contested and emotional the issue of controlling advertisement of alcohol is and would therefore encourage South Africans to act in a more responsible manner and allow the bill to be presented for public comments before engaging its content.

In as much as there would be those who are interested to raise the social, moral and ethical questions, there would also be those who raise economic and political issues. And unless, the discussion is allowed to take a particular focus which will be prescribed to us by the bill, the so-called “looming battle” remains illusory and misleading.

At the ultimate we will, as South Africans, have to receive the bill, apply our minds and correct those ills that come up with the high consumption and excessive advertisement of alcohol in our society.

Released by the Office of the General Secretary

Rev. Mautji Pataki

 

 

Jacob Zuma
HUMAN RIGHTS DAY
South Africa
21 March 2012
SACC Press Statement

  South African Council of Churches
Khotso House, Johannesburg

Human Rights Day in South Africa - 21 March 2012

This year marks the eighteenth year since our country got its liberation from the colonial apartheid rule. With this liberation and freedom came the adoption of the Democratic Constitution with a chapter on the Bill of Rights which primarily promotes and protects the citizens’ human rights.
More than being legal, human rights are God-given rights. They promote equality of God’s people before the law and indeed before God. They emphasis the universal truth that all people are created by God and therefore are to be treated as equals without any form of discrimination and injustice.

However, the SACC finds it both sad and concerning that after all these years since the dawn of democracy and the introduction of the Bill of Rights, South Africa remains one of the most unequal societies in the world where social injustice looms large. We find it unacceptable that our country, despite its massive natural resources, is still defined by social inequality, high rate of poverty and unemployment. We fail to understand why our freedom is not yielding the desired results.

We enter the celebrations of human rights day at a time when we know that there are patients in some hospitals who are without meals and proper medication, communities who goes for many days without drinking water, people who are without decent shelter and homes. Earlier in the year we have seen how children cross flooding rivers without bridges in order for them to reach school. These children are without scholar transport.

We are called to celebrate the human rights day at a time when the majority of South Africans are still crying for the return of their land, when the economy is still in the hands of the minority while the majority suffers hunger and disease, when miners are on strike pleading for a living wage while others have recently died in acts of illegal mining. This celebrations come at a time when corruption, both within the public and private sectors, our rips society of its basic human rights and when the informal traders are harassed and removed from the streets by the authorities.

The SACC calls upon the people of South Africa to reflect prayerfully on all these social ills and injustices as we remember those who toiled and died for these rights. For us, Human Rights Day, is a day of prayer and discernment where God is invited to journey with his Church in its mission of prophetic witness but also provide guidance for our leadership in this country to take correct decisions about the lives of His people.
Released on 20 March 2012.

Rev. Mautji Pataki
General Secretary



 

 

On the Occasion of the 8th International Israeli Apartheid Week - A letter from the SA Council of Churches to all
Churches in SA

24 FEBRUARY 2012

Dear Brothers and Sisiters,

Challenging injustice through the courage of faith

The South African Christian community through the SACC, SACBC and other several ecumenical agencies join the other parts of the Church in the world to remember the Israeli/Palestinian people in their celebration of the 8th International Israeli Apartheid Week starting from the 5 -11 March.

Our participation in this Week is influenced highly by our own history of struggle and suffering in South Africa for over many decades when the values of justice, peace and love were suppressed in the interest of apartheid, division, exclusion and conflict. We found through the teachings of the Gospel how these values formed the core of Christ’s ministry.

It is only regrettable that the voice of the Church against injustice in our society is highly weakened today. It is an observation that South Africans have made with a desire now rekindled to resuscitate the voice of prophesy.

As this reflection is made on the life of our own nation in South Africa, many of you will remember that Israel remained the single supporter of apartheid when the rest of the world implemented economic sanctions, boycotts and divestments to force change in South Africa.

Our brothers and sisters in Palestine have made a call in this regard, that we should question what kind of regime Israel is. And to this, after many debates and exchanges, the answer is that it shared and continues to share a similarity with the old South Africa in implementing apartheid where all non-Jews of Palestine are discriminated against, displaced of their land and homes, and subjected to refugee camps and a permanent state of violent military rule.

Today the Palestinians cry out to the world and to God, saying:

How long, O God, will they steal our livelihood? Oppress, imprison and humiliate our people? Deprive our children of their childhood? Indeed how long, God, will the multitudes of Christians of the world ignore the anguish of our Palestinian sisters and brothers and all of the oppressed?

From South Africa we are called to repent of this ignorance and oblivion we have shown. We are called to return to the way of truth, community in humanity and speak out from the podiums to the mountain tops. We are called to tell the truth and join in prayer, in the pursuit for justice, peace and love in their land.

In their Kairos Document, similar to the one South Africans put to the world in the 1980s, Palestinians say:

Our question to our brothers and sisters in the Churches today is: Are you able to help us get our freedom back, for this is the only way you can help the two peoples attain justice, peace, security and love?
Israeli Apartheid Week

We urge all South Africans and the Church in South Africa to join in the Awareness Campaign that over 100 Universities in the world including those in our country are engaging in during what is called Israeli Apartheid Week (IAW): 05 – 11 March 2012

Israeli Apartheid Week (IAW) is an annual international series of events (including rallies, lectures, cultural performances, film screenings and multimedia displays) held -by ordinary people- in cities, communities, churches and campuses across the globe.

IAW seeks to raise awareness about Israel's apartheid policies towards the Palestinians and to mobilize support for the growing Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel.

Last year IAW was incredibly successful with over 90 cities worldwide, and 9 universities in South Africa, participating in the week’s events.  We now urge churches in South Africa to join in collective intercession for Freedom in Palestine before the Israel Apartheid Week takes place in different parts of the World. On the 4th of March we will join in collective prayer to bring Palestine to God our Father.

The South African Council of Churches has designed a Worship Liturgy which is obtainable on the SACC website and from all our Provincial and National Offices. Our contact person is Ms. Dudu Masango contactable through dudu@sacc.org.za ; (011) 241 7800/3.

We hope and have faith in our Lord Jesus Christ that this effort will be possible.

We thank you all in anticipation of your passionate and positive response to this call and participation in Israeli Apartheid Week.

God bless you

Revd. Mautji Pataki                                                                                        Bishop Revd. Dr Jo Seoka
General Secretary                                                                                           President

 

 

 

THE SOUTH AFRICAN COUNCIL OF CHURCHES INVITE CHURCHES IN THE COUNTRY TO PRAY
The Jerusalem Prayer for Sunday, March 04 & 11, 2012 

We believe that every human being is created in God’s image and likeness and that every one's dignity is derived from the Almighty.  We believe that this dignity is one and the same in each and all of us.  This means for us, here and now, in this land in particular, that God created us not so that we might engage in strife and conflict but rather that we might come and know and love one another, and together build up the land in love and mutual respect .

In the absence of all hope, we cry out our cry of hope.  We believe in God, good and just.  We believe that God’s goodness will finally triumph over the evil of hate and of death that still persist in the land of Palestine.  We will see here "a new land" and "a new human being", capable of rising up in the spirit to love each one of his or her brothers and sisters.

 Gracious God our Heavenly Father, Creator and sustainer of each human life,

we give you thanks and praise for your gift to us of your only Son, Jesus Christ -- His birth in Bethlehem, His ministry throughout the Holy Land, His death on the Cross and His Resurrection and Ascension.  He came to redeem this land and the world.  He came as the Prince of Peace.

We give thanks to you for every church and parish in the country that is praying with Palestine this day for peace.  Our Holy City and our land are much in need of peace.

In your immeasurable mystery and love for all, let the power of your Redemption and your Peace transcend all barriers of cultures and religions and fill the hearts of all who serve you there, of both peoples - Israeli and Palestinian - and of all religions.

In the land you made holy, free us all from the sin of indifference, contempt and violence which only brings hatred and killing.  Free the souls and hearts of Israelis and Palestinians.  Give liberation, freedom and dignity, to the people of Gaza who live under trials, threats and blockades.  Guide the leaders in that land; purify their minds and hearts, to become true servers of their peoples.  Speak your word of love for all to hear, guide them to justice in all lands, grant them power to proclaim your reign, bridge the gaps that divide and unsettle them and let your Kingdom come.

All this we ask in the name of Jesus Christ, barrier breaker and sharer of our humanity. and in the power of the Holy Spirit, who prays in and with us all.  Amen

 

 

 

The Church-State Relationship post ANC Centenary Celebrations in the Context of the future of Prophetic Engagement (in South Africa). Presentation by Revd. Mautji Pataki, General Secretary SACC.

22.02.2012
SACC – Kwazulu-Natal Christian Council

Church Leaders and Members of the Kwazulu-Natal Christian Council Executive Committee;
Heads and Representatives of other Ecumenical Agencies;
Representatives of Inter-faith formations and Communities;
The Honourable Speaker and Other Members of the Kwazulu-Natal Provincial Legislature;
Government Officials and their Representatives at all levels;
Representatives of Political Parties and Traditional Leadership;
Business;
Distinguished Guests;
Fellow South Africans;

I take this opportunity, first, to thank very much the leadership of the Kwazulu-Natal Christian Council under the Chairmanship of Bishop Mike Vorster, the Ecumenical Secretary Dr Douglas Dziva and their team of able organisers for having found it fit, necessary and perhaps even appropriate that I be invited to share this informative evening with the rest of you.


I use this opportunity further to bring you greetings from the South African Council of Churches on whose behalf I stand here tonight to share with you some thoughts around the Church and State relations which I am certain you are aware is an ancient debate that refuses to resolve for as long as it relates to the contested issue of human power and authority.

Tackling a subject, therefore, as exciting and perhaps even as challenging as this, I might just need to introduce the discussion by tapping into the Pauline literature to the Roman congregation where he authoritatively writes, “Every person should obey the government in power. No government would exist if it hadn’t been established by God. The governments which exist have been put in place by God. Therefore whoever resists the government opposes what God has established.”
And of course the Apostle proceeds in an instructive tone that, “Those who resist (government) will bring punishment on themselves.”

That therefore governments need to be treated as God-instituted is beyond question. What could only be enquired is whether governments themselves view and understand themselves to be God-instituted and therefore bound to obey God in their continued responsibility of serving God’s people.
Their failure to observe this founding principle about themselves is one that exposes them to a disregard by the Church which plays a divine role within matters of State. And it is at this point where relations between Church and State get severed.

The reading of this text is made even more interesting and inviting for further reflection and debate  by what was then later said by the Apostle Peter when him and others stood trial before the Jewish Council in Jerusalem;  and this is how he answered the Sanhedrin authorities with represented, at the time, State power,
We must obey God rather than any human authority.”

There is a strong temptation as well that both these texts, written by two different Apostles, both of whom had interacted quite extensively with Jesus Christ’s teachings on power, authority, servant-hood and obedience, themselves need to be read in the same spirit and context of what had earlier happened in history to the Jewish Men of Faith, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego – who too were brought before King Nebuchadnezzar to answer to certain charges brought against them by the State authorities. And this is their statement of defense, “We don’t need to answer your last question. If our God, whom we honor, can save us from a blazing furnace and from your power, he will, Your Majesty. But if he doesn’t, you should know, Your Majesty, we’ll never honor your gods or worship the gold statue that you set up.” Reading all these texts together, quite a convincing impression is created that the responsibility to serve and how one relates to State authority has its own limits and conditions. This is made even more imperative by the recognition that all authority belongs to God who in turn is an absolute authority. In other words, God may establish a civil authority but as soon as the same authority ceases to represent his will, intention and authority, it no longer deserves obedience. Again this is the point at which the Church with all its values would fall out with State power.

It therefore makes it prudent of any civil authority to remain mindful of the Statement of Authority that is attributed to the Lord Jesus Christ by St. Matthew, who writes,
All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.” This line of argument, to which I subscribe wholly in this discussion, does hold substance guided by the common knowledge that human beings are by nature fallible to the extent that even when God puts them in charge of others, in positions of leadership and authority, they have the potential to fall and to be drawn into all sorts of temptations that finally put them against God’s will. Therefore, quite understandably, their authority is and cannot be absolute.

In this regard, it cannot be expected of the Church to remain in good relations with State authority if that authority doesn’t care for the citizens’ needs or even oppresses them. This is because the nature of state power is more political than divine and has tendencies to exclude and deprive others while taking care of others, in most cases the powerful and influential. Shadrach, Meshach, Abednego and the Apostle Peter make it succinctly clear in front of State authority, that obedience must be earned. This is because King Nebuchadnezzar and the Jewish Council were found to have lost any sense of vocation in favour of feeding their own narrow interests, personal and political ego representative of their crave for human power and dominance over the others.

And I say it is the crave for human dominance represented by civil over divine authority that I find unacceptable and deserving to be resisted. In his political assertion, former President Nelson Mandela argues that for social transformation to be complete and achievable, you need to have cultivated spiritual transformation. That he called for even greater co-operation between government and faith-based organisations to achieve this goal is highly commendable. However commendable, it only becomes problematic when government assumes to be its responsibility to facilitate or even establish the formation of a faith-based organ answerable to civil authority. Mathole Motshekga   illustrates the point when he writes, “President Mandela commissioned CRATA to facilitate dialogue among government and faith-based communities which led to the formation of the National Religious Leaders Forum (NRLF) in 1997…”

Perhaps in order that we engage the meaning of this development where government takes the responsibility to organize or facilitates faith-based communities into a vehicle that could come to serve the political agenda more than the religious imperatives, we need to go back to the 18th and 19th century and there borrow the ideas of Benjamin Franklin , who contests that: “When a religion is good, I conceive it will support itself, and when it does not support itself, and God does not take care to support it so that its professors are obliged to call for help of the civil power, ‘tis a sign, I apprehend, of its being a bad one”.

The truth that is found in this assertion is that not long ago down the political line when relations were no longer as rosy as they were during the Mandela era as President of the country and leader of the Majority Party in Parliament, it became politically convenient for the same Political Party and government to establish a new parallel inter-faith structure called the National Inter-faith Leaders Council (NILC) in 2009. And unsurprisingly, the first ever meeting of its Executive Committee which took place in August of the same year went to the Union Buildings to introduce its leadership to the civil powers…and this happens even before they could be known to other communities of faith – leaving an impression that in their view civil authority supersedes divine authority.

Things happened so fast and quick that on the same day “the Presidency and NILC agreed on a Developmental Partnership underpinned by a Moral Regeneration Programme. The meeting agreed to form a joint committee of the NILC and the three government departments to pursue their common objectives which were amplified by a meeting of CRATA, Minister Edna Molewa and the Directors-general of the three departments.”
Motshekga continues to show that’ “The Presidency and NILC already agreed on the Memorandum of Agreement (MOU). The Presidency urged the NILC to ensure that before the MOU is signed NILC should seek to be inclusive of all major Faith-based organisations including the historically marginalized ones .”
To this kind of development, this is how Dr John M Swomley reacts, “Churches are healthier and stronger if they assume responsibility both for financing their own programs and for stimulating their members to accept that responsibility.” Where the Church is made to rely on civil authority for its survival, it fails to achieve its own original mission and instead concentrates of being a developmental wing of government in the process doing mission using government’s standards, cultures and principles. Instead of adding a spiritual dimension to development, the Church only implements political programmes and initiatives. Further, Swomley’s observes that, “Since separation precludes financial support or special privilege from government, the churches are free to engage in prophetic criticism of the government and to work for social justice.”

As the ANC and indeed the entire South African political spectrum correctly celebrate the centenary of the liberation struggle, it is emerging that some of the most notable leaders of the South African Native Congress, later the African National Congress, were clergy people and individuals who were lay preachers in their churches. Their contribution to the liberation struggle was a civil responsibility carried through divine values of ensuring care, love, justice and peace in our country. In this regard, you have a political struggle that became triumphant over State power as represented by apartheid at the time.

But today the pendulum has turned around. Those who were oppressed and deprived of power and authority are now in power. Without moving any posts, it is the responsibility of the Church to remain true to its mission of ensuring that the powerless and those that are vulnerable remain vocal and assertive about their own struggles. It is not hard to discover that there are many people in this democratic dispensation who are still neglected and marginalized by the powerful. South Africa is one such country where the level of social inequalities is very high – giving rise to a new form of socio-economic struggle. This struggle is what characterizes ANC government post centenary celebrations. Until Capitalist consumption is confronted and defeated there is in no way the Church would agree to the current macro-economic policies peddled by this government. In this scenario the Church must not concern itself with who is in power but whether those who are in power are God-fearing and true to the values that go along with divine power.

So, the relations between Church and State shouldn’t be static or prescriptive but must be determined by the nature and character of the State power in question. If State power is used to deprive mining communities with the rights to benefit from minerals and mining land proceeds, then the Church has to be critical of such State power. If people in South Africa are deprived of land as their source of livelihood, the Church must oppose such laws that remain unfriendly to the needs of the people.

Moeletsi Mbeki contests that beyond these centenary celebrations, the nation will have to confront the following development, where the Church, too, has to take a particular stance in relation to State power:

  • Remilitarization of the police
  • Suppression of the freedom of mass media
  • Manipulation of judicial processes and personnel
  • Refusal to introduce a constituency based electoral system which could make members of Parliament more accountable to the electorate

If some children in one country enjoy the benefits that come along with scholar transport and yet others walk to school on foot, it becomes a justice question which the Church can never and must never agree to. In a situation where the majority of South Africans have been removed from land and even in the democratic dispensation that land is not returned or shared equitably, the Church must rise up and challenge those in charge of State power. Those who hold such power must be the first to resource public health amenities in such a way that the weak receive proper health services. In case they fail in their public mandate, the Church must challenge them. The Church, like Apostle Peter says, must engage in acts of civil disobedience against a State power that seeks to impose e-tolling, for an example, on the lives of the citizens of this country.

Similarly, the Church must resist any imposition of any faith movement in the life of this society by powers of State. On their own, communities of faith can and must organize themselves into a viable prophetic voice. State power cannot determine the nature and character of faith. Only the divine power can and must.

I thank you

 

 Political Hit Squads – Enemies of the Nation!
  26 January 2012

The South African Council of Churches (SACC) finds the recent media reports on the existence of political hit men squads in Limpopo to be very disturbing, concerning and outright unacceptable within the values of the peaceful and democratic South Africa.

At the heart of our concern is the failure by certain groups and individual to understand and respect life as sacred and GOD-given opportunity. No one, it doesn’t matter how powerful they are, have the right or even the privilege to end another person’s life. This is a right reserved only to GOD who remains in charge of our beginning and end – the Alpha and Omega.

The SACC therefore calls upon those who are behind the establishment of hit squads in Limpopo Province and elsewhere in the country to desist from this practice and invest their energy in finding solutions through dialogue, debate and engagement. GOD has endowed all of us with brains and minds to resolve even the most incomprehensible challenges.

We are quite happy and do congratulate members of the Hawks, Crime Intelligence and the Police who acted on time and with precision to effect the arrest of the suspects. We further invite members of the public with information to come out and report these kinds of criminal activities to the law and security agencies.

We deserve a peaceful, secure and stabilized country in order to enjoy the fruit of our constitutional democracy. Advocates of death are therefore a great disappointment to what this country has so far achieved and thus need to be locked up in prison!

    
Rev. Mautji Pataki
SACC General Secretary

 

Go to e-tolling itWeb Article  e-tolling - January 2012
In Defence of the Poor People of South Africa who are already over-burdened with tax and fuel levy, the SACC calls on Government to scrap the e-tolling system immediately.

South African Council of Churches - Khotso House, Johannesburg - Press Statement
19 January 2012

Call to Government to scrap e-tolling
The South African Council of Churches (SACC) in support of the call made by other civil society organisations including Cosatu, calls on the Government of South Africa to scrap completely the controversial e-tolling system that has been initiated by SANRAL in Gauteng Province.

Whereas we are aware that Government through the Minister of Transport brought the implementation of the project to a halt so that, as he says, other alternative ways of proceeding could be explored, we find it unacceptable and unaffordable for the poor people of this country who have no other viable public transport system to turn to, to be made to pay even much more than they are doing at the moment.

We are definitely mindful that once the e-tolling gets implemented, prices on basic food and fuel will rise while the people’s income levels remain the same and low. This system of doing economy is evil for it reduces human beings to mere objects meant to feed a system that does not improve but destroy their livelihood.

We hold strong the position that the South African government has the responsibility to ensure that the road infrastructure caters for the needs of its citizens. These citizens are already heavy-burdened with taxes and fuel levy where money for the maintenance of the road infrastructure should come from. Government’s argument that our tax base is not sufficient enough to take care of our public road infrastructural needs is lame and devoid of all accuracy if one was to take into consideration the report by the Auditor-General pointing to the fact that corruption and mismanagement of public funds is on the rise in this country. Therefore paying more taxes can only be interpreted to be making up for the difference attributed to corrupt activities.

It would therefore be in the interest of justice for the people of South Africa not to register for the e-tolling system and allow government to foot the bill.

Released by the Office of the General Secretary
Rev. Mautji Pataki
General Secretary

 

 South African Council of Churches - Press Statement on Department of Education in Limpopo - January 2012
  Khotso House, Johannesburg


The South African Council of Churches is highly disturbed by reports from many parts of Limpopo Province that point to lack of stationery, books and other learning materials as schools re-opened for the new year of learning and teaching. The act is so unfortunate that it is tantamount to feeding learners darkness when they ask for light, ignorance when they ask for knowledge.

We find it inexcusable that the material that was supposed to have reached the schools by now has not yet been delivered at a time when learners and teachers are ready to start work.  Apart from all these accusations and counter accusations as to whose responsibility it was to order books, we call upon the parents, communities, parent associations and civil society including churches to organize themselves and demand books, scholar transport and food-at-school on behalf of their helpless children who are clearly failed by those who are supposed to be facilitating their success. Strict deadlines must be adhered to in this regard because it would not be helpful for anyone to receive books in June.

In this embarrassing instance, communities, learners and teachers must refuse to be drawn into a mudslinging exercise that seeks to apportion blame on the National Department of Education which we learn took over the administration of Limpopo in December when books could have long been ordered.

This act is a violation of the learner’s right to education and therefore those who are responsible have to be drawn before court to answer for a deed so destructive in the life of the innocent people. It is criminal and therefore not a matter to be treated lightly when adult leaders and officials violate the constitution of this Republic.

Released by the General Secretary of SACC

Rev. Mautji Pataki
General Secretary

 

   Rev. Mautji Pataki, General Secretary
   South African Council of Churches (SACC)

    January 2012

  “Glitzy Funerals” - A Capitalist Ploy to rip the Poor of their little earnings!

Thabo Rampola’s writing in the City Press Edition of 15 January captioned, “Let’s bury these glitzy funerals”  demands an elevated attention as it echoes the sentiment already expressed by the SACC’s Triennial Conference Resolution 14 of 2004. That resolution reads as follows:

“As people are created in the image of God, we affirm this God-given dignity in our earthly life and even after death…and therefore extend our respect for life to those who have also passed on and their families. In respecting the dead, we should however not respect death and burial, but the person”.

The Conference, attended by just about 26 Member Churches including Church Leaders, went on to commit itself to the following programme of action:

  • To promote and invest the churches’ resources in life enhancing initiatives;
  • To call upon church members including leaders, ordained and lay, to make public pledges about their burials, i.e how they would wished to be buried in line with the spirit of this commitment;
  • To accompany the bereaved families with (financial) advice and guidance pre, during and post burials.

To cushion these noble ideas, Conference further resolved to invite all church members in South Africa to set up living legacies and endowment funds for their beloved. Instead of using huge sums of money for burial, funds could be channelled to establish bursary funds and memorials in the name of the departed person.
Like the resolution and the letter of its spirit, Rampola goes for the jugular vein from the onset, targeting values that are out to promote “crass materialism” and selfishness while eroding the basics of African and Christian values of bereavement. Indeed the world with all its cultures might have evolved over time but that is no justification to use human death, suffering and the loss life to justify the raking of massive profits by individuals who are only driven by greed and self-enrichment.
In his article, Rampola correctly argues that the public advertisements and the commercialization of funerals demonstrates a deliberate portrayal of black people to be the principal consumers of “glitzy funerals” and yet there are other population groups in the country who are by far wealthy and opulent but who are by design not targeted by these advertisements. This then leaves those behind the adverts with some tinge of racial innuendos and yet death knows no colour, wealth, poverty or social class for that matter. As to when and where it strikes, we all end up in the grave – in our case, a place elsewhere beneath the ground where it is highly impossible for the dead to receive their admirers.

Our point is to alert the unsuspecting prey of this hegemonic attack which comes in the name of “decent funeral” that it is in fact modesty and not display of opulence that lends decency to the way the living treat the dead. In Rampola’s words, “the very last but not least thing that should be erased from our list is the revered casket which takes away the largest amount of cash as we budget for a burial.”

Those who peddle and promote a lie that caskets are made of highly durable and costly can’t-get material valued at R50 000 and more as Rampola contends, only need to be exposed and their businesses paraded as exploiters of the poor in the name of decent service.

Communities, rich and poor, need to be dissuaded from investing in death for in it there are no returns. In other words life, including self-satisfaction, fulfilment and spiritual healing, cannot be attained through burying your loved one in a “glitzy” way. Those who are bent on this illusion are just showy victims of a highly capital-driven ideology which seeks to present wealth possession, materialism and affluence as affirmation of the worth and value of a human being even in death.

There is no beauty in a corpse and therefore no need exists to clothe it in fancy and expensive bed-linen as though it would ever feel the comfort normally reserved for the living. It is only when the mind fights reality that a corpse could be treated as a “living organic”. Otherwise it is the soul of the departed that lives.
In recent time and in pursuance of its own resolution, the SACC went into partnership with the Financial Services Board (FSB) on a financial wellness programme that seeks to educate communities on “modest funerals” and the value attached to them. Of course in our present-day South Africa you hear people referring to it being their right to bury the loved ones in any costly manner possible as long as they have the money to do so. This is definitely not the point. The point is people have to learn to be good stewards of the resources under their care so that other people who have none or less have the possibility to benefit from the same resources while still alive.

Investment is made wiser when its proceeds and dividend improve the lives of the less fortunate than to be splashed deep into the grave where no one stands to benefit. This is Christ’s teaching, to take care of one another and never to boast publicly of your wealth in from of those who are hungry, poor, unemployed and destitute. What do you think the biblical story of Lazarus and the rich man is all about if it doesn’t teach that it is a sin to brag about your possessions in front of those who can’t afford?

In my vocation I have come across family situations where after bereavement members are left destitute following failure to service the debt accrued from the funeral. As Rampola states that expensive and highly celebrated “lunch” is served at “breakfast” time I could only agree that it is an anomaly associated with funerals as the distinction between the two meals is naturally clear.

Let us wake up from this deep sleep and allow ourselves to be counted among those nations whose resources get used to advance life rather than celebrate death.

 

 

 

 South African Council of Churches (SACC) Khotso House, Johannesburg
  Press Statement
  SACC Mourns the Death of Ilse Naudé.

The South African Council of Churches is deeply saddened by the death of Ilse Naude, wife to the late Rev. Dr Beyers Naude who once served as the Council’s General Secretary. The SACC coveys its heartfelt condolences to the family with great hope that the Lord Jesus Christ, in whom Ilse and the rest family have invested their trust, will bring healing.

We have always known Ilse to be the strong force and character behind Oom Bey’s ministry at a time when he had to disengage from the Afrikaner community following his convictions against apartheid and state theology. We remember how sad and difficult it was for him to arrive at such decision and yet with Ilse alongside him it was achievable. In Ilse, Oom Bey had a strong shoulder to cry on.

The South African Council of Churches thanks God for a life so well-lived and meaningful as Ilse’s life demonstrated. We wish it were possible for the nation to produce more of such women as Ilse so that the challenges we face today could be confronted with solid faith in our Lord Jesus Christ. So much was Ilse dependable that Oom Bey never felt lonely on a path that was destined to define him as a traitor. Throughout his house arrests, Ilse remained a symbol of hope for him and the children.

As we lay her to rest, our fulfilment is derived from her fighting spirit for justice and peace in our land. We hold no regret, as the ecumenical movement in this country and the world that we had a gift in Ilse at the time when we needed such as her. We may not as yet have achieved the goals that he lived and fought for as injustice and poverty continue to characterise our land. However, we are confident that one day we will achieve a nation where no one goes to bed hungry, without water and food.

The SACC will pay the family of Ilse and Beyers Naude a special pastoral visit in the next few days.

We pray to God to receive Ilse’s soul that she may rest in eternal peace.

Released by the Office of the General Secretary
Rev. Mautji Pataki
General Secretary
02/01/2012


 

 

 South African Council of Churches (SACC) Condemns Bomb Attacks on Christians in Nigeria

The South African Council of Churches (SACC) finds the bombing attacks on churches and Christians in Nigeria to be unacceptable and thus condemned in the strongest way possible. We find it even more insulting of the Christian movement that the attacks were planned to coincide with the celebrations of the birth of Christ. Christmas is about joy and peace, life and redemption. He whose birth gets celebrated was named by the Prophets to be The Prince of Peace – suggesting that he wouldn’t advocate for anyone’s death or injury. When we celebrate his birth, we are reminded of him as the Way, the Truth and the Life. Irrespective of who is behind the attack, the killing of other people for whatever reason is unjustified and does have no space in the hearts of the God-fearing. Christians need to be afforded their own space, equal to all other religions in the world, to worship God devoid of any such attacks as we have witnessed in Nigeria. It is not a choice but a duty on our part to come together for fellowship and glorify God. We therefore call upon all South Africans, Africa and the world to:

  • Hold national prayers in remembrance of  the victims of this attacks
  • Express solidarity with those that are under attack
  • Extend word of condolence to the bereaved families
  • Pray for all the people of Nigeria including those behind the attacks
  • Campaign for a Peaceful Nigeria

The world is a better place to be when there is goodwill among its people.

Released by the Office of the General Secretary

Rev. Mautji Pataki
General Secretary
26/12/2011


 

 

Jacob Zuma
PRESIDENT JACOB ZUMA

   President Jacob Zuma’s Statement is a disappointment.

The South African Council of Churches finds the statement by the President Jacob Zuma on the role of Christian faith in South Africa to be very disappointing and irrelevant to the project of building a nation where all religions receive equal respect and recognition. We are even taken aback by the fact that his statement is made out of no provocation.

There is more sense when Christians take care of orphans and the aged because that is the command from our Lord Jesus Christ – to take care of one another, to love one another, feed the hungry and cloth the naked. It is this command about the vulnerable groups which brings out the solid foundation upon which the Christian faith is built.

Without going anywhere deep in history, the church has established some of the most solid health and education institutions where personality of high note were also produced. South Africans continue to live the legacy of such individuals. Our contribution to the liberation struggle against colonial and apartheid regimes speaks volumes of how much the Church has done. Those who will celebrate the Centenary of the liberation struggle in Mangaung next year will find that a Wesleyan Methodist Church has become a national heritage because community meetings used to take place there. This history cannot simply be erased from the face of our nation by a statement that seeks to demobilise Christians.

We call upon the President to view Christians not as a threat but a community of believers whose mandate is to spread the gospel of Jesus Christ whose core values are care, justice, peace, forgiveness, reconciliation, and many others intended to build our nation. Our intention is to live by these and make South Africa a happy home.

Released by Office of the General Secretary

The Revd. Mautji Pataki
22/12/2011


 

 

SACCYF

SACC
YOUTH FORUM

 

On the road to the SACC Youth Forum Elective Conference, Johannesburg
13 – 15 December 2011

As a result of 2008 SACC Youth Forum Church Youth Leaders’ Consultation, the Forum has gone through the restructuring process; as Dr Brigalia Bam was quoted in EcuNews of 1996 “the need for united Christian witness and action is as demanding in the new South Africa as ever before” and as such this in our view is very important. The ecumenical youth movement in South Africa must be consistent in being lively. Some of the changes made and those that will be proposed are not radical shifts in basic purpose but only in emphasis.

These proposed changes are meant to make the SACC Youth Forum lively, and most importantly relevant to the constituency we serve; while remaining prophetic.  There is no doubt that the cornerstone of the churches and youth’s role in the societal development of our nation is through having youth who are united in purpose and critical in thinking, to create the desired change. The SACC Youth Forum is looking forward to a Conference which will change the course of history of our society and its people.

 

PRESS RELEASE
COP17  CMP7 6 DECEMBER 2011

South African Council of Churches (SACC)

Welcomes statement by the People’s Republic of China Urges Carbon Quartet to end Climate Insensitivity

DURBAN: SACC welcomes the statement by the People’s Republic of China (the number 1GHG polluter in terms of total GHG emissions* but not per capita) signaling that it is now ready to commit to a legally binding agreement on reduction of GHG’s. We find this position morally sensitive to the need to build world solidarity on matter affecting climate change.

A binding commitment during the Durban round of talks on Climate Change will strengthen both the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and also benefit the BASIC group of countries (Brazil, South Africa, India & China) which includes the host nation.

SACC urges the remaining countries outside of the protocol to urgently re-examine their positions and to approach unilateral action with extreme caution. Without binding targets, further delays in committing to a global agreement on GHGs will lead the world to a 4 degree climate change, which translates into a 6 degree world for Africans. This will further sabotage efforts of the international community in attending to the most vulnerable communities -- the global poor, indigenous nations and the Least Developed Countries (LDCs). The profligate actions of the Carbon Quartet of Canada, Japan, Russia and the USA are already placing an unfair and unequal burden on the developing world. Such unilateral action can only be termed Climate Insensitivity and will surely backfire with dire consequences for humanity.

We can only question the motives the Carbon Quartet -- the lack of moral integrity and political leadership of those responsible -- particularly leaders who are today in Durban refusing to uphold Climate Justice and the Kyoto Protocol. USA is number 2, Canada is number 7, Russia number 4 and Japan number 5 respectively in terms of GHG emissions*.

 

Failure to abide by the will of majority of the Earth's citizens is surely testing the resolve of the international community and can only be interpreted as a lack of commitment by those most responsible for GHG emissions. This is clearly an insult to the most vulnerable who are now being denied access to a just global order which meets common and differentiated responsibilities, embraces inter-generational equity and promotes alternative development pathways.

The SACC is therefore extremely dismayed by the growing rift between rich and poor nations and especially those traditionally associated with scientific advancement who cannot deny ignorance of the effects of Climate Change.

We call upon the President of the African Union Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo, the President of South Africa, Mr. Jacob Zuma, and the COP17 President Maite Nkoana-Mashabane to do whatever is needed in order to reaffirm the Kyoto Protocol and its associated mechanisms in order to end once and for all the tragedy of Climate Apartheid and the appalling situation in which those most responsible for GHG emissions continue to place an unfair and unequal burden on those least responsible.

We also congratulate all COP17 delegates in promoting ecological debt and climate change reparations via the creation of a range of mitigation and adaptation consultative Indabas.

Issued by The Revd. Mautji Pataki, SACC General Secretary 

Contact: Keith Vermeulen
SACC Public Policy Liaison Office
082 523 0701


Cop 17 - Durban - South Africa  

PRESS RELEASE
The South African Council of Churches (SACC)
Conference of Parties (COP) 17/ COP Members of Parties 7
SACC Resolution supporting the promotion of the Green Climate Fund

The 16th session of the Conference of Parties (COP) held in Cancun Mexico resolved to establish the Green Climate Fund (GCF).
Given the urgency and seriousness of climate change, the purpose of the GCF is to make significant contributions to the international community’s attempts to mitigate its effects.

The Fund seeks to make a significant contribution towards the achievement of the ultimate objectives of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and, in the context of sustainable development, the Fund (GCF) will promote the paradigm shift towards low–emission and climate-resilient development pathways by providing support to developing countries to limit or reduce their Green House Gas emissions.


We further support The Fund on the proviso that it be:

(i) An ethical response to the Climate Change Convention;
(ii) Guided by the principles and provisions of the Convention ;
(ii) Operate in a transparent and accountable manner, guided by efficiency and effectiveness ;
(iii) Play a key role in channeling new, additional, adequate and predicatble financial resources to developing countries ; and
(iv) Catalyse climate finance, public and private, at international and national levels.
In support of the COP 16 decision taken at Cancun in Mexico, to establish the Green Climate Fund (GCF), the South African Council of Churches urges:
(1) The South African government to invite voluntary contributions from COP 17 participating nations to the GCF as compensation for the footprints of carbon emissions ; and
(2) All participants at COP17 to lobby international aviation companies, maritime agencies, international trading and investment companies to compensate developing countries for their historic and corporate responsibilities for carbon emissions by contributing to the GCF.


The Rt. Revd. J Seoka                                                                The Revd. M. Pataki
President SACC                                                                          General Secretary SACC
0828931378                                                                                 0828624396

 


Rev Mautji Pataki
Rev Mautji Pataki, SACC General Secretary

The Experience of Indigenous Churches of the Public role in the new Political Dispensation

By: The Rev Mautji Pataki, SACC General Secretary  Presented at the University of Pretoria Theological Conference
10 November 2011
The Organizers of this Conference and the Rev. Dr Vuyani Vellem, Director of the Centre for Public Theology; Members of the Faculty of Theology, Professors and Other Theologians; Guests and Students; The Distinguished People of God.

Thank you very much for the invitation that would allow me to say the things I am going to say with great anticipation that they will make a contribution towards the realization of the objectives of this Conference. The organizers of this Conference have asked me to produce in particular some brief working notes on the public role to be played by the Indigenous community of churches within the new democratic dispensation as against their pre-liberation experience and then emerge with what could be the distinct signs and trends useful to strengthen the arm of these institutions post-liberation.

Further the organizers have suggested that in doing so I also draw some parallels with the public role that is being played or supposed to be played by the mainstream Christian churches post-liberation South Africa. Both these subjects find interrelations in so far as what the critical and core message of the Christian church is supposed to be in the public and social space. By the nature of its formulation this topic already suggests that before the new dispensation there was a particular kind of role and experience reserved only for the indigenous churches; and by implication role and experience that other churches outside the family of the indigenous would ordinarily not have played and acquired.

And indeed it is true that the experience of the African Indigenous Churches pre-liberation period were not the same as those of the others who were of foreign missionary traditions. Both their role and experience were obscured, neglected and demeaned by the attendant social and political systems of the time.

The formulation of this subject may further suggests that the role of the indigenous churches pre this new democratic dispensation is different from the one that these churches now play in the current new dispensation. This suggestion may not be a true reflection of the reality we have and I will shortly show why I make this assertion. Ordinarily one would think that the universal role of the Christian Church is to present the Lordship of Jesus Christ as Saviour in the world by making more of his disciples – converting non-believers into believers and practitioners of the Word. And whether the dispensation is new or old this role remains a gospel imperative for the Church as was commissioned by the Lord himself.

However, it might have dawned in the minds of the organizers of this Conference to broaden the discussion on this gospel imperative of the Church’s role as all Church throughout human history has always found itself ministering within particular and distinct socio-political contexts, systems and dispensations.

My contestation is that more than the role content is the socio-political environment and milieu that often necessitate discussions of this nature. My argument therefore is that whatever role churches play, whether indigenous or otherwise, if truthful to the gospel, remains the same. More than the role, it is the style of expressing the Lordship of Christ which causes those external and foreign to the practice to look the other way.

Ndou argues in his doctoral thesis on Indigenous Churches that African Indigenous churches “came into being because of the failures of the mainline churches to satisfy the religious needs of their converts”. (p161)

He further argues that, “the purpose of establishing the new movements by the indigenous people was not a move to ostracize the white missionaries who introduced the Christian religion”. (p162)

The religious needs in this argument refer to cultural rituals that are inherently intended to address the spirituality of the African people, who wanted to remain African practitioners even after receiving the Lord Jesus Christ as their Saviour. This is where the concept of African inculturation of the Christian faith was born.

Of course this was also in response to the concerted effort by the missionaries of western origin to convert the African people to Christ by also turning them into little Westerners. This ranged from name change to attire, the looks and language, what medical doctor to go to and so on – virtually things that have got no business to define the role of a Christian or Church in any society. In certain instances some of those who resisted this coercion were labeled rebels, backward and uncivilized.

So those who defined others as backward also labeled their form of worship and churches as “sects” without paying attention to the core values that such form of worship and church was teaching.

The role content of the African Indigenous churches has been largely guided by the teachings of the Lord in the midst of the political environment that was characterized by colonialism, later apartheid and all other sorts of segregation practices and policies. And therefore when all these political ideologies collapsed, with the new democratic dispensation setting in, the role content of the African Indigenous Churches in South Africa did not require any redefinition but only to be liberated.

The liberation of the African Indigenous Churches meant that the Lord Jesus Christ could now be worshipped in Sepedi, IsiXhosa, IsiZulu, Xitsonga, Tshivhenda, iSindebele, Setswana, Sesotho and so on, because these languages were now liberated and for the first time called, “official” by the constitution governing the new dispensation.

 

So, the African Indigenous churches’ original role of presenting the Lordship of Jesus Christ as Saviour could then be expressed without the old feeling that the Lord was a Western formulation only to be adored through “piano” and not “moropa”, guitar and not “ditlhwantlhwadi”. This is what the new dispensation brought about – the affirmation of those previously demeaned.

If I were to be asked to speak to certain specific social roles that the Indigenous Churches are known for, I would immediately refer to their firm identification with the rhythm of the African continent, its values for peace and communal living expressed through the values of sharing, caring and respect. These values are all core to the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ only to be threatened by those who aspire for competition, materialism and individualism as values. Therefore, in this sense the role of the African Indigenous Church is self-defined and remains in line with what the Lord Jesus Christ taught.

Of great emphasis is their public role in spiritual healing – believing strongly that diseases do attack not only the physical body but the spirit as well. In this regard no believer can be whole unless the spirit is healthy. So, in worship prayer for the sick is a common practice. What I hear these churches say is that only if our nation could be spiritually healthy, the nation will prosper.

Concluding on painting the picture of a South Africa whose society is still unequal and indifferent to issues of social justice, we need to share the experiences of a church that was once oppressed and now liberated – a church that was once demeaned and now affirmed – a church that represents the spiritual aspirations of the poor majority of our population – believers who never questions issues of faith but only believe and trust in the Lord for their salvation.

Much of this role and experience of ensuring that the socio-political and economic freedom is achieved has been played largely by the so-called missionary churches. While playing this role, I have experienced a sense that these churches could not operate in silos to the exclusion of the majority Christians who also belong to the African indigenous family of churches.

As though it is the same as yesterday, the world has taken quite a drastic turn as it globalised. The space has become smaller and there is a lot of unhealthy competition for the world’s natural resources and wealth. In his recent lecture to the Law Society of Limpopo, the former South African President Thabo Mbeki refers to the “recolonisation of Africa” by the powerful nations. This already presents a new challenge for the Church never to allow the second round of oppression to visit the African shores.

The theory of the recolonisation of Africa is based on the battle over much of the natural resources that are found in Africa. It is not an accident that you currently have an Africa that is experiencing a lot of instability as in Libya, Sudan and South Sudan, Somalia, Kenya, Egypt and so on. This systematic destabilization of Africa is intended to justify the occupation of Africa by the super powerful nation…and it must be resisted using the gospel of Jesus Christ which liberates all humanity from any form of bondage.
The Church has to work for social justice which will translate into peace and stability in the world.

 And it would only pay dividend to the nation, as I said at the beginning of this notes, for both traditions to remain true to the gospel by presenting the Lordship of Christ to the unbelievers. Guided by the experiences and the environment in which this must be achieved, I see no contradiction between those who work for social justice and those who ensure that the nation is spiritually healthy. Both are the liberative approach to the preaching of Jesus Christ’s gospel. More than a contradiction, these roles and experiences are complimentary.

Now that there is no longer apartheid and colonialism, both the African Indigenous Churches and those of missionary descend must maximize the Christian space by working together and together liberate Africa from the shackles of its oppressors.

I have said all the things I have said because I hold strong the words of the Apostle Paul that, “you are all God’s children by believing in Christ Jesus. Clearly, all of you who were baptized in Christ’s name have clothed yourself with Christ. There are neither Jews nor Greeks, slaves nor free people, males nor females. You are all the same in Christ Jesus” (Galatians 3:27-29)

I thank you


 

   

A holistic approach identifies not only individuals who have succeeded only in creating innovative enterprises but also those who have created a life of significance and well integrated to lead a balanced life of work, family, community and active lifestyle. Leading a life of significance not only leads to greater success at work, but also a greater success at home and in the community.

The lives of these individuals are supported by a robust system, infused with healthy, diverse relationships to help one achieve own goals. This is evident in improved relations in their lives. Through creativity, they can easily adapt to new circumstances, courage to experiment with new arrangements and communication tools to meet new expectations.

Rev. Mautji Pataki, the General Secretary of the South African Council of Churches shared with us the story of his journey and what motivated his decisions in life.

“The proper function of a man is to live, not to exist” – Jack London According to Christopher Gergen and Gregg Vanourek in their book titled “Life Entrepreneurs”, they hinted on “ordinary people creating extra-ordinary lives”  These are people who have led their lives, created opportunities for themselves and others, followed their passion, and acted on their beliefs, rather than live and wait for a lucky break. Just like the environment we live in, their lives are ever-evolving and they are prepared to align their plans accordingly, towards the vision they have created.

AN INTERVIEW WITH AFRICAN ENTREPRENEUR
FOR GLOBAL ENTREPRENEUR WEEK

GLOBAL ENTREPRENEUR   |  AFRICAN ENTREPRENEUR


 

 

SACCYF

  Youths in bid to save the planet
   (Sowetan News Live - 8 November 2011)
    ( GO TO SOWETAN NEWS ARTICLE )

  MORE than 200 youths representing the African continent are coming to Soweto

The youths will take part in the 17th Conference of the Parties (COP17) and the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change to be held in Durban from November 28 to December 9.

The South African Council of Churches Youth Forum arranged for a caravan to travel from Nairobi, Kenya, to Durban, to teach youth about the environment. The forum's Bongani Luvalo said from Nairobi that the 'We Have Faith - Act Now for Climate Justice' caravan will travel to Tanzania, Malawi, Zambia, Mozambique and Botswana before coming to Soweto. "In all these countries, we will meet youth and try to understand their environmental issue.

"We will share issues of sustainable development and youth issues around climate change. When the bus gets here, we will have information-sharing sessions," Luvalo said. He said one of the aims of the caravan is to plan and set up strategies for active youth participation and information sharing at COP17, focusing on influencing the process and the outcomes of the negotiations. The caravan is expected in Johannesburg on November 21. "From Johannesburg, the caravan will travel to Durban, where the youth will be received by global faith leaders at Kings Parks Stadium," Luvalo said. Performers at the stadium will include HHP, YFM's Mo Flava, Zan D and Andy; Norwegian Ten Sing and Kenyan Julian.

"We understand that driving through the countries is not very environmentally friendly so when we drive back, we will be planting trees in all the cities that we stop in," Luvalo said.


 

 

 The Death of Muammar Gaddafi

 “Love your enemies, pray for those who persecute you and be kind to those who    hate you.” – Luke 6:27 and Matthew 5:44

The assassination of Muammar Gaddafi, leader of Libya for over 40 years is an explicit demonstration of the brutal outcomes war would always have on human life. Whereas those who hated him and were oppressed by his regime will understandably celebrate and call his death victory, those who loved him will never accept that this is the way in which their hero was supposed to die. The result of this division is a protracted conflict that will never end as observed in countries such as Iraq and many others where leaders get killed for political reasons.

The SACC remains convinced and unmoved that for Africa to prosper in stability there is no need to allow external forces such as NATO to determine its fate; but rather Africans themselves through organs such as the African Union must be allowed to exercise the right to find solutions to their difficult problems.

This is because as Martin Luther King Jnr said, “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that. Hate multiplies hate, violence multiplies violence, and toughness multiplies toughness in a descending spiral of destruction…The chain reaction of evil – hate begetting hate; wars producing more wars – must be broken, or we shall be plunged into the dark abyss of annihilation.”

Statement released by the Office of the General Secretary



 


 
SAFCEI  

SOUTHERN AFRICAN FAITH COMMUNITIES’
ENVIRONMENT INSTITUTE (SAFCEI)
“Faith communities committed to cherishing living earth.”

Office Tel: (+27) (0)21 701 8145        www.safcei.org.za        secretary@safcei.org.za         

Climate Justice – Lasting Peace

Climate change is the greatest threat humanity has ever faced.  All nations must take action – urgently.

It is a moral and ethical issue – driven by human behaviour and values.  It must therefore be solved by moral principles and a willingness “to do what is right.” An over-emphasis by negotiators on financing, trade and offsets continues to delay the action needed to bring about immediate and sufficient change.

We, members of faith communities of Africa, believe it essential that the nations of the world come to an agreement based on moral principles of justice and equity at the COP 17 meeting to be hosted by South Africa in 2011. This will mean developing clean energy, reducing global CO2 emissions, taking steps to stem biodiversity loss and providing resources for adaptation among the developing countries of the world. Sixteen previous Conferences of Parties (COP) of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) have failed to reach an agreement that will reduce emissions to the level needed to combat climate change.

The faith communities of Africa are therefore organising 3 workshops in preparation for COP 17 to:

  • promote a theologically sound framework for responding to the challenges of climate change
  • set out a plan of action for faith communities to support the effectiveness of the UN negotiations
  • challenge South Africa as host country to set an example and give a lead
  • agree on the moral principles and the support to be given to African governments in playing a

leadership role founded on the principles of justice, equity and compassion and to present a united
voice from Africa’s faith communities.

Southern African Workshop:   4 to 6 May in Lusaka, Zambia
for faith leaders from South Africa, as host of COP 17, and neighbouring countries that hold extensive coal reserves or are reliant on South Africa for energy. 

Pan-African Workshop:    7 to 8 June at the UN Centre in Nairobi
co-hosted with the All Africa Conference of Churches (AACC) and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) who will provide the venue at the UN Centre in Nairobi.  We need to feed our conclusions to the UNFCCC Intersessional meeting in Bonn from 6 to 17 June and communicate the principles that should guide the negotiators and governments of our respective countries well before COP 17.

South African Workshop: 19-21 September
for South African faith leaders to motivate and inspire the faith communities of South Africa to pray for and participate in the COP faith events.

Sunday 27 November: the day before the 2011 COP commences, a major gathering of faiths – possibly a rally in Durban’s new football stadium – led by religious leaders of the world.  The purpose is to issue a clear call to the political leaders of the world that for the sake of our people and our planet, and in obedience to our Creator, COP 17 must arrive at an agreement based on moral principles that help protect and preserve the world for future generations. 

Sunday 4 December: a worship service to pray for the success of the talks.

Bishop Geoff Davies                                                                                                             
6th October 2011


 

Climate Change


SACC YF Press Statement, 07 October 2011

SACC Youth Forum launches its Climate Change campaign in preparation for the COP17.

The South African Council of Churches Youth forum will this weekend launch its campaign on climate change in preparation for the Durban COP17 in December under the theme “We have faith, Act now for climate justice”. The launch is outside the Loch Logan Rose Garden (Macufe Festival venue) on Saturday the 08th October and the Sunday service will be a Zuka Baloi Stadium in Welkom.

After the Interfaith Leaders launch of the COP17 petition on Climate Justice at the Koinonia Conference Centre, Botha’s Hill, KwaZulu-Natal on the 21st September 2011, the SACC Youth Forum with its Provincial Chapters and member church’s youth structures put together a draft program of action to mobilize young people in South Africa to support the demands of the interfaith community. Also the SACC Youth Forum’s program of action requests those in support of the demands to sign the petition; those petitions will be handed over to the Minister of International Relations Maite Nkoana-Mashabane, at an interfaith rally on the 27th November at Kings Park Ruby Stadium in Durban. Also the campaign will seek to raise awareness, sensitize people on issues of climate change and share information.

The SACC Youth Forum will be hosting a number of provincial consultations and piloting awareness outreaches. The campaign targets every place where you will normally find young people, be it a church, synagogue, sports field, chisa-nyama place, shopping complex, tertiary institutions, taxi ranks etc.. We hope to strengthen the voice of the interfaith, climate change activists and other civil society organizations as they seek to influence our government to favor millions of people that are affected by climate change and not favor profit agendas.

We conclude our program on the 21 November 2011, as we receive our African counter parts who will be travelling from Nairobi traversing through Tanzania, Malawi, Zambia, Botswana and finally stopping in Soweto. The African Youth Climate Justice Caravan will bring together over 100 young environmentalists, artists and climate change advocates. The caravan shall be launched at the end of the Youth Conference on Climate Change (2nd-4th Nov) in Nairobi. In every country that the caravan will pass, there will be a climate justice show with famous local artists, greetings from religious and political leaders as well as performances by the caravan participants.

Their stop will be in preparation for the final concert to take place in Soweto on the 22nd November 2011. The caravel, with a delegation of youth from South African Council of Churches Youth Forum will make its way to Durban on the 23rd November with a lunch stop in the City of Ekurhuleni, where the Executive mayor, Members of the Mayoral Committee and youth leaders in the region will greet the African Youth Climate Justice Caravan and also sign the petition. The African Youth Climate Justice Caravan will be received by a massive interfaith rally in the Kings Park Rugby Stadium on November 27thtogether with other caravans.

Emeritus Archbishop Desmond Tutu is the patron of the event, and other prominent guests are invited. The caravan will be received by fellow youth gathered at the 7th Conference of Youth (COY 7). 

Consensus has been built among climate scientists that the current climate crises have been caused by human action, and that urgent action is required to save the planet. As the South African Council of Churches Youth Forum we strongly believe climate change is one of the biggest threats to development and livelihoods in our time. The impacts of climate change in Kenya and Africa cannot be underestimated, with the recent cases of devastating droughts, Nile River for instance, and floods in many parts of Africa, as well as increased intensity of tropical diseases like Malaria.

As the South African Council of Churches Youth Forum we seek to do something different and powerful to communicate the urgency with which we must address climate change. This is a new way of doing advocacy. It will be challenging and most significantly, it will be enlightening, impactful and world changing; just maybe it’s the difference we’ve all been wanting to make......WE HAVE FAITH!

Issued by the South African Council of Churches Youth Forum

For more information, please contact Bongani Luvalo (National Spokesperson)
Landline:(011)241-7832
Cellphone:0720875798
Email: luvalob@gmail.com


 
 

 

 
 
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*** 2011 ***
 

South African Council of Churches
62 Marshall Street
Khotso House


Johannesburg

South Africa needs an urgent dialogue on its moral compass.

The South African Council of Churches (SACC) in collaboration with The Evangelical Alliance of South Africa (TEASA) has been observing the current issues occupying public space in South Africa and since come to an uncontested conclusion that at the heart of the national problem in this country is “South Africa’s complete loss of moral compass”. As the result of a number of economic and socio-political factors, the nation has over time developed a very blurred and poor understanding of morality and this highly manifest itself in how political leaders, religious leadership, business captains, communities and individuals generally conduct themselves.

The situation is made even worse by the collapse of the government-led Moral Regeneration Movement which has so far failed to inspire South Africans in a direction worthy of a moral and ethical conduct. At the core of its failure is the movement’s utter disregard for family values and a clear inability to create harmony between the much-publicised human rights culture and the daily experiences and struggles of ordinary South Africans. This gap has allowed some leaders and communities to peddle and sustain inequality and disregard for the sacredness of human life as values within the national discourse – and this needs to be challenged.

On a daily basis South Africans are fed with media reports that point to a deepening culture of corruption – which bodes ill for the country. This culture is characterised by a lavish life style led by ruling elites at the expense of the South African tax payer on the basis that this is presumably `allowed’ by the letter of relevant policies or so-called “handbook” which is authored in a manner that flies across values that could be saving the country from it self-destruction.

This disregard for the protection of the tax payer’s interests and the consistent parade of open opulence in a country where so many still suffer poverty, unemployment and neglect confirms our conclusion that we need a moral and ethical code to even guide public policy. We find it completely unacceptable, in a country with deepening inequalities, where 25% of workers are unemployed and close on 50% of youth are neither at school or being trained for gainful employment that leaders should continue to live as though nothing is fundamentally wrong.   The maintenance of this trend suggests that the abuse of power and public resources is not merely an aberration, but has become an article of faith of our government.

Further, one would have thought that government that prides itself as a champion of the poor and the disadvantaged would go beyond the letter of “policy” which is not even informed by the material realities confronting ordinary South Africans in its demonstration of its concern for the poor.

It is our view that such behaviour as is reported about the Minister Sicelo Shiceka, Police Commissioner Bheki Cele and others, who have been guilty of such negative reporting in recent weeks and months, raises serious concern about their fitness to rule, their moral consciousness and readiness to serve South Africans with humility.

In this regard we support recommendations of the Public Protector and the view of the President to act swiftly and decisively to relieve them of their duties until all relevant investigations have been completed.  We believe that such investigation will be necessary in order to establish the facts, and to clear those so negatively reported on in the event that the media was less than fair in their representation of the facts.

The current stand-off and court battle between AfriForum and the President of the ANC Youth League is yet another such demonstration that our path to national reconciliation is highly littered with inaccuracies and avoidance of moral obligations the country in general has on the poor. In our view, true reconciliation will only be possible once the whole struggle around issues of justice would have been dealt with fully.

Just how Andries Tatane, an activist from Ficksburg in the Free State dies at the hands of the police is yet another indication of how those who control state power are able to use it abusively against the very same people who cry for protection and social services.
Someone still has to come out and convince the nation that Tatane was worth dying at the time when he was calling upon the authorities to provide clean water for the local community of Ficksburg.

When you see politicians going to church supposedly for worship and yet heavily followed by media cameras and later interviews on their electioneering campaigns, then we must conclude that this nation’s moral bar has gone rather too low and it would later become extremely difficult for such politicians to respect and to listen to the Church.  The question must be asked, “why is it that you hardly have the same leaders coming to the church ordinarily outside the election season?” Indications are such that it is more of their pomposity and arrogance that is on display rather than them humbling themselves in worship.

On the contrary when the poor come to church there are no such cameras. They come to church because they strong believe God will hear their prayers and change their situation for the better. They need no cameras because they do not represent power and bling. So in the vocabulary of media they do not represent anything news worthy. They are nonenties who only make news once a politician visits their church. This is immoral because fundamentally the core of church business is not to promote politicians but worship and glorification of the Lord.

In the same way we need someone to convince this nation that the lives of those leaders who were shot and killed in Mpumalanga Province over time had committed an offence to warrant their killings. We unfortunately hear nothing in this regard. What kind of moral code are we building for this country if people, fathers and husbands are killed for their own participation in a democratic order? These are national questions which beg answers.

We also take great offence at the way state institutions such as the Crime Intelligence continue to be abused to serve internal political party processes within the ANC. This is another high level of corrupt tendencies that must be equally investigated to allow those who are guilty to face the prosecution.

Finally, we take a dim view of how unethical the mining sector conducts itself in its relations with rural communities where a lot of communities are never full beneficiaries of the mining activities.
This relates to other companies who do business without due regard for ethical business code. This also affects some of those South African companies who do business even beyond the South African borders. Issues of environmental impact assessment are often neglected and this had led to some many complications in relation to climate. We need to be ready to confront this truth as a nation and make our collective moral response at the COP17, an International Conference taking place in Durban at the end of this year.

On the basis of all these worrying developments in the country, the SACC working in collaboration with TEASA and other civil society organisation will convene a national dialogue on the moral compass of this country in order to commit everyone to become a moral agent – starting from leaders from all sectors to individuals, communities and social players. This dialogue will take place in the next three months.

 

Released by the Office of the General Secretary in Johannesburg on 25/04/2011

 

Rev. Mautji Pataki
General Secretary
Contact: 082 862 4396

 

South African Council of Churches

62 Marshall Street, Johannesburg, 2000
Tel. (011) 241 7815

Press Statement for immediate Release

SACC holds its Central Committee in Kempton Park, Gauteng Province.

About 100 Clerics, Church Leaders, Christian Women and Youth drawn from the SACC Member Churches across the country will gather at Kempton Park in Gauteng Province to attend the proceedings of the SACC Central Committee starting from the 07th to the 08th June 2011. The meeting takes place at the Lakeview Airport Lodge.

The Central Committee – a body which deals with SACC policy – takes place under the theme, “Following the Way, standing for the Truth and seeking the Life: SACC Reclaiming and Revitalising the Spirit of Christian Witness and Prophetic Ministry” .

Among some of the dignitaries who will address Conference are Prof. Barney Pityana (Rector of the College of Transfiguration) and Mr. Lawson Naidoo from Council for the Advancement of the South African Constitution (CASAC). Both of them will address the sub-theme, “Corruption: A threat to Democracy in South Africa”.

Both the theme and the sub-theme have been highly inspired by an observation that if society was to continue dealing with corruption as a material than spiritual problem, we are likely not about to win the battle as a nation. There is a demand on our part to spiritualise corruption and target it as an evil practice that has to do more with immorality and insensitivity towards ethical conduct.

In line with the same theme, the Opening Address by the President of the SACC, Bishop Jo Seoka, will focus on painting a picture of how deep corrupt practices have gone in our society including in churches, business, politics, families etc.

The Committee will also receive the General Secretary’s Report which will convey all activities that the Council is involved in throughout all the Provinces and the country in general. It is envisaged that a lot of resolutions will flow from this report.

Whereas media interviews will be conducted throughout the proceedings, a Press Conference addressed by the President will convene on the 08th June 2011 starting at 14h00 on the meeting premises.

Released by the Office of the General Secretary in Johannesburg on 01 June 2011.

 

Rev. Mautji Pataki
General Secretary – Contact Number 082 862 4396

 

South African Council of Churches

Office of General Secretary
62 Marshall Street, Khotso House, Johannesburg

Media Statement for Immediate Release

SACC Leadership Meeting with President Jacob Zuma

Over time the SACC had made certain observations with regard to Government’s performance and its reaction to certain national issues. Subsequently a planned meeting between the leadership of SACC and The Presidency took place on Friday the 10 June 2011 and the following were raised and fully discussed:

  1. The unrelenting acts of corruption that continue to bedevil not only the public service but private and other sectors of the South African society. The President acknowledged that indeed corruption has become a pandemic and that in certain instances government through its legislations is able to expose and deal with the culprits wherever they are found.
  2. On some of the specific issues such as the General Commissioner Bheki Cele and Minister Sicelo Shiceka, the President made a commitment that he will act accordingly on these matters once the report from the Public Protector’s Office would have been completed and submitted to him.
  3. The President also challenged the SACC to put in place in place practical programmes that could engage both the public and the private sectors in dealing with corruption. In this regard, he expressed the government’s readiness to co-operate and work in partnership with churches.
  4. When SACC raised the concern of churches, The President acknowledged that the misuse of Jesus Christ’s name during electioneering campaigns was regrettable because indeed it has caused offence within the Christian circles and that it is something that must never be allowed to happen again. Both delegations found it divisive that the name of the Lord who lived for unity should be used to advance political allegiance.
  5. It was announced in the meeting that Government will be holding a Religious Summit within the next two months to address issues around service delivery. This is based on government’s desire to enter into partnership with faith communities to ensure that its programmes on job creation and delivery of social services receive support from communities. The leadership of the SACC received this announcement with great appreciation and committed the Church’s participation at the proposed Summit.
  6. Whereas the SACC raised its concerns around the Protection of Information Bill which is before Parliament to the effect that it is viewed as a way to protect certain vital information away from public knowledge to the extent that even corrupt practices could be shielded, the President made a commitment that he will take all such factors into consideration before appending his signature. His emphasis was on the fact that the bill has to comply with the Constitution.
  7. On Police brutality against unarmed protesters, the President acknowledged that the use of excessive force against citizens who pose no danger to society and the Police is unacceptable and further gave an indication of how quick it was for those Police who acted wrongfully to be arrested. He urged the SACC to support these initiatives and allow the due process of law against such elements.

 

  1. Finally, the SACC received the President’s commitment for further and regular updates on issues that affect the African continent including peace, mediation and stability initiatives in some other countries. The SACC received this intention with great appreciation as the Church works with other National Councils of Churches, the All African Conference of Churches and other Regional Ecumenical Agencies to ensure peace on the African continent.

 

Released by the Office of General Secretary on 15 June 2011 in Johannesburg. Contact 0828624396

 

South African Council of Churches

62 Marshall Street, Khotso House, Johannesburg

Press Statement:

JOHANNESBURG- The saga around the court judgement against the ANC Youth League President Mr Julius Malema on the singing of the struggle song, Dubul’ ibunu and the general reaction through which the judgement was received are an indicative of our nation’s failure to effect the programme for national reconciliation. The reality is that the nation has over years failed to deal with its divided past in a manner that would contribute towards building a non-racial and reconciled society where justice and equality are the key values of our democracy.

In as much as there are some people who argue that the judgement is going to receive resistance as it tempers with the heritage of the liberation struggle and movement, there are also those who celebrate the pronouncement and are satisfied that they will no longer live in fear. The decision by the ANC to appeal the judgement is yet another indication that the matter is far from over.

The SACC finds this judgement to be an opportunity for all South Africans to debate national reconciliation, social cohesion and nation-building openly. As a result our call to the people of South Africa is to participate fully in giving content to national reconciliation, implementing the recommendations of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) and agree on a common value system for our nation. At the moment we have no agreed upon values that practically bind us together as a nation.

Democracy is not only about voting and electing a government. People who for a long time were excluded from economic activity and their cultural practices must be allowed the space to live side by side with those who have long been advantaged by the political system of the past. National reconciliation remains hollow if it fails to affirm the weak and reassure the marginalized that they too have the social space to occupy in the life of this nation.

SACC clearly detest anything, be it symbolic or ritualistic that continues to polarize the South African nation, undermine the oneness to which Christ calls all of us. On the other hand we embrace all things that promote unity, justice, peace and social stability.

Released by the Office of the General Secretary on 13 Sepetember 2011.

 

Rev. Mautji Pataki
General Secretary
Contact No. 082 862 4396

 

South African Council of Churches

62 Marshall Street, Johannesburg

SACC accepts the withdrawal of Chief Justice Nqcobo as an honest decision.

The SACC receives the decisive withdrawal of Chief Justice Nqcobo from the extension of his term of office with appreciation. By taking this decision, the Chief Justice has earned our respect as a man of integrity. This is because should he have continued with the appointment as announced by the President, we would have remained concerned for at stake was his integrity and that of the bench.

The Constitutional Court has so far done well to maintain the independence of judiciary in this country and this is the trend which must never be brought to doubt by any decisions made by government.

The SACC understands and hold that both the President and the Chief Justice did nothing illegal as other legal opnion makers made the point However, once an impression was created that the extension of his term of office was surrounded with controversial, it immediately demanded of him to step down so that his reputation and that of the judiciary remains doubtful.

We call upon South Africans to learn from this humble example and take leaf. Chief Justice Nqcobo’s decision puts the interests of the country. With this decision he emerges much stronger as he now occupies the high moral ground. Those who are in leadership positions must always be alert to the fact that the interests of South Africa supersede personal interests.

The SACC thanks the Chief Justice for the term of office he served and wish him well in all the other endeavors he shall pursue as he serves the country in other capacities.

 

Statement released by the Office of the General Secretary in Johannesburg on 28 July 2011.

 

Rev. Mautji Pataki
General Secretary

Contact: 082 862 4396

 

South African Council of Churches
62 Marshall Street


Johannesburg

P.O. Box 62098
Marshalltown
2107

 

Press Statement for Immediate Release

VIOLENT PROTESTS ARE A SERIOUS CONCERN TO THE CHURCHES IN SA

Johannesburg- The violent developments associated with poor delivery of social services in Zandspruit (West of Johannesburg) and some other parts of the country is a rude re-awakening call to the authorities and yet an indication of just how destructive things can turn out to be if Local Government Councilors and political parties continue to ignore the needs of the people.

Our early warning to South Africans leadership is that all effort must be done to save this democracy lest we walk the path of Tunisia, Egypt, Libya and many other parts of the world where social instability reigns.

It is becoming even more apparent that in areas where local leaders fail to provide leadership and offer basic social services to the communities, people have now resorted to display their agitation and anger in a violent way. While we find the use of violence and the destruction of property to be unacceptable in a democracy, we understand the anger and the frustration of the poor who are confronted with the daily reality of having to live without jobs, decent shelter and food in a country where leaders display opulence.

It is also concerning that as we approach the Local Government Elections we see more and more of protests that have to do with how candidates’ lists have been finalized. In other instances it is reported that leaders who are a discredit to their communities are been forced on to the people who would later have to vote for them. We wish political parties could respect the desires of communities and allow internal democracy to lead their choice of candidates.

Over years, South Africa has always produced credible elections that have been lauded by international, regional and local observer missions. It is a record that we must, as a nation, strive to keep for it is a good example of how democracy works. Of course we also accept that elections on their own are not a demonstration of a living democracy.

Our appeal to police is to restrain the use of excessive force because it is this approach that aggravates the emotions of protestors. We similarly appeal to communities to use the non-violent methods of protest because that could only lend credence to the genuine struggles.

Our final appeal goes to government and political leaders never to take the needs of communities for granted. It is indeed an act of dishonesty that an attempt to deliver social services to the communities comes mostly at the time of electioneering. Our conviction is that communities are entitled to these services and therefore government is not doing any favour when it delivers such services. It is a public mandate that government must meet.

 

Statement released by the Office of the General Secretary

 

Rev. Mautji Pataki
General Secretary
Contact Number: 0828624396
31 March 2011

 

Press Statement for Immediate Release: 12 April 2011

The leadership and membership of the South African Council of Churches (SACC) join, in solidarity, the people of Swaziland who will today express their demand for the establishment of a democratic government and the rule of law in their country.

Having participated in the struggle for democracy and the liberation of South Africa and its people, the SACC is fully aware that such a struggle that seeks to emancipate people from oppression is never an easy one. We are only too hopeful that the authorities in Swaziland will act with restraint and allow the peaceful demonstrations to proceed without interruptions.

There comes a time in the history of any nation to determine its own destiny by using systems of governance that advance their aspirations for a better life. The Lord Jesus Christ came so that humanity may have life in its fullness. This fullness is realized when people are not deprived of their rights including access to social services such as shelter and food, jobs and land, peace and justice. This is what we understand the people of Swaziland to be yearning for.

And although democracy is not in itself an answer to the situation in which the people of Swaziland find themselves, its establishment will go some distance to assist them to realize an enabling political environment that guarantees human rights and freedom. We therefore fully support their demand for a constitution that will entrench these human rights and freedoms.

Our appeal to the monarch is never to be frightened by the call for democracy but rather be excited by the prospects that come with the liberation of his people as they begin to express themselves freely in an open society. Democracy, as we saw in South Africa, does not exclude anybody. It takes into consideration the existence of traditional leadership, religious institutions, and business entities in as much as it does with political leadership. Thus, we are hopeful that his role will be protected by the new constitution.

We also call upon the government of the Republic of South Africa working together with other SADC counterparts to deploy sufficient resources that could assist the process of democratizing Swaziland without delay. This includes the commitment to engage with the Swaziland Government in pursuance of a solution that could bring stability to the region. It is a process that must be afforded full attention as a contribution to peace-building.

Finally, the South African Council of Churches invites the Christian community throughout the region to pray for Swaziland on this day and to allow the Lord to guide its people in their call for freedom and liberty.

Released in Johannesburg by the Office of the General Secretary

 

Rev. Mautji Pataki
General Secretary
Contact: 082 862 4396

 

Press Statement for Immediate Release

SA deserves credible Local Government Elections

The SACC observes with grave concern how in some certain instances Political Parties contesting the coming Local Government Elections fail to exercise tolerance and in the process threatening what they committed themselves to on the day they signed the IEC Code of Conduct.

Reports that there are people who get attacked for canvassing votes for their favourite candidates in certain areas and that certain political parties’ posters are vandalized while of recent time certain politicians’ names are used in campaigns that discredit other parties and without them have played any part in such campaigns, are worrisome and need to be discouraged in all possible ways.

Allegations of personal attack on a woman who was walking on the streets of Erkhuruleni Municipality on the on the basis that she support a different party from her assailants, the alleged discrediting of Minister Trevor Manual in a pamphlet that purports to have been authored by him, the removal of political party posters in Meyerton and certain parts of the country – all point to a trend of intolerance which needs to be attended to.

The truth be said, this is going to be one of the most highly contested elections because at the heart of it are matters that have to do with the way social services are being delivered or not delivered in certain local areas and municipalities. However, this does not mean political parties and their members have the license to disregard certain moral standards and values governing the elections.

We appeal to all South Africans, and in particular political parties, to conduct themselves in such manner that does not undermine democracy or threaten the freedom of South Africans to express their will on the day of elections. We do not find reason why people should appeal to dirty tricks, violence and dishonesty when preparing for these elections.

Above all the things that must be done throughout these elections is to promote peace and ensure that the outcome of the elections is credible. Every South African citizen who qualifies to vote is called upon to exercise the right to vote and put in place a government of choice with the responsibility to provide basic social services to the people of this country.

When Jesus Christ speaks of him having come so that people must “have life and have life in abundance” he was referring to a system that would be based on justice, peace and human dignity. This is what we should and must all strive for in this country. There must not be any justification of denying people their rights under a dispensation where freedom, liberty and human rights are the basic values.

Released in Johannesburg on 12 May 2011 by the Office of the General Secretary.

 

Rev. Mautji Pataki
General Secretary
Contact: 082 862 4396

 

 

*** 2010 ***

The Dignity of Resistance in Solidarity: 2 Samuel 21:1-14

Dr Allan Boesak's theological reflections, shared on March 28, 2010 at the SACC consultation on Palestine

SACC NEC met with President Zuma

Matters such as poverty, national unity and moral regeneration were raised.

Of Power Perfected in Weakness: Challenges Facing the Ecumenical Movement and the People of South Africa Today

Professor Tinyiko S. Maluleke,SACC President and Executive Director Research: UNISA, challenges delegates at the SACC Central Committee in March

"Telling the Truth from a Position of Weakness": Press Statement

SACC Central Committee, overseeing policy and programmes of the organisation, met from 9 to 10 March in Kempton Park, Johannesburg.

NERSA Declares War Against the Poor

SACC considers national energy regulator's decision to raise electricity tariffs as tantamount to a war against the poor.

SACC Commemorates 20 Years of Liberation

New SACC publication looks at issues of liberation now and then.

SACC National Executive Communique

The quarterly meeting of the SACC's National Executive Committee comments on confirmed reports that President Jacob Zuma has fathered another child out of wedlock, as well as the contents of President Zuma's recent State of the Nation address, and also articulates expectations for the forthcoming National Budget.

Guardian of the light: Denis Hurley, a book review

Bernard Spong, former head of Communications at SACC, reviews and recommends a book about Denis Hurley, the late Catholic Archbishop of Durban.

*** 2009 ***

Act Now on Climate Change, SACC Urges

The SACC has endorsed the UN Conference on Climate Change taking place in Copenhagen and called on leaders to accept the challenge to make "significant and meaningful emission reductions" and on all citizens "to change our own behaviour and the way we contribute towards the devastation of our environment and this earth we live in".

SACC on the situation at Central Methodist Church

The people from South Africa and other African countries that have taken refuge in the Central Methodist Church in the centre of Johannesburg are not the problem. SACC asks some pointed questions in order to help find a solution.

Climate Change: A Challenge to the Churches

The SACC has published a timely new resource on climate change and the ways that Christians are called to respond to this threat to the integrity of God's creation. [PDF 1MB - ]

Living Under the Olive Tree

Ecumenical Accompanier France Mkhatshwa tells the story of the Hanoun and Ghwaai families who have taken up residence under their olive trees in East Jerusalem after they were evicted from their homes by the Ateret Cohanim Settler organisation.

SACC Appalled by Violent Attacks Against Democracy

Church officials decried the savage attacks on leaders of the shack-dwellers' movement, Abahlali baseMjondolo, in Durban last weekend. "We are alarmed by the way in which legitimate community struggles are being criminalised," said SACC General Secretary Eddie Makue. Bishop Rubin Phillip called for the deployment of a "credible and independent force" to stop the violence.

Life in Tulkarem

Jade Orgill, an Ecumenical Accompanier based in Tulkarem in the Occupied Palestinian Territories, reports on life in the area and the social, political and economic issues that confront local residents on a daily basis.

The Strike by SANDF Personnel

The Council responds to the recent strike by SANDF personnel in Pretoria.

SACC Seeks Path of Religious Unity, Mutual Respect

SACC leaders counsel caution in response to the launch of the new National Interfaith Leaders Council.

Transforming Johannesburg's Alexandra Township into a Loving Mother of All

SACC President Tinyiko Maluleke makes an impassioned plea for the transformation of Alexandra while opening a new community edcuation facility in the township recently.

Shot and Killed on his Way to Pray

EAPPI Accompanier Simphiwe Pato tells the story of Hammam Nasseraldin, a 19-year-old Palestinian man gunned down by Israeli soldiers on the steps of the Ibrahimi Mosque in Hebron after having passed through two security checkpoints.

I Would Rather Be a Hungry Dog That Runs Free ...

EAPPI Accompanier Deborah Donnell is part of a group of people who are harassed and shot at by Israeli soldiers in the village of Artas on Labour Day.

2009 Central Committee Communique

The annual meeting of the SACC Central Committee took place 27-29 May at Cedar Park in Woodmead, Johannesburg. The meeting issued this communique summarising key aspects of their deliberations and actions.

Piece by Piece the Land is Being Stolen: An EAPPI Report

Simphiwe Pato, an Ecumenical Accompanier based in Hebron, shares his experiences of security force bias at an action to protest the incursion of Israeli settlers onto land owned by Palestinians. Six members of Israeli anti-occupation organisations were arrested at the protest for refusing to leave occupied land hastily declared a "closed military area" by the Israeli Defence Force.

SACSEC Commends Free and Fair 2009 Elections

The South African Civil Society Election Coalition (SACSEC), a network of non-governmental and civil society organisations co-ordinated by the South African Council of Churches, announced today that it is satisfied that South Africa's fourth round of national and provincial elections was conducted in a substantially free, fair, transparent and credible manner. The Coalition's preliminary assessment comments on a number of aspects if the election, including voter education, election coverage, political party agents and voting day itself, as well as making suggestions for the post-election period.

Crucifixion by Corruption: Then and Now

In his Good Friday sermon at Diakonia Council of Churches in Durban, SACC President Prof. Tinyiko Maluleke warns against corruption, noting that Jesus Christ was a victim of corruption in his day. "He was a victim of systems, institutions and structures - colluding and intersecting religious and political systems," Maluleke said. Citing Micah's condemnation of "cannibalistic" leaders who prey on the people, he lashes out at the "shenanigans" of contemporary political, economic and religious leaders and offers a perspective on the NPA's recent decision not to prosecute Jacob Zuma.

No Room for the Poor in Our Cities?

Anglican Bishop Rubin Phillip slates the "odious" KwaZulu-Natal Slums Act and endorses Abahlali baseMjondolo's campaign for decent housing for all. "We need to recognise that shack settlements, imperfect as they are, have been an effective means of providing housing for the urban poor," Bishop Rubin observes. "Working with people in a respectful way should be the basis for a proper partnership that begins to change our cities to more just, equal and shared spaces where shalom reigns."

Report to the SACC on the Ecumenical Accompaniment Programme

At the end of 2008, an evaluation team appointed by the SACC visited Palestine and Israel to assess the World Council of Churches Ecumenical Accompaniment programme and to make recommendations regarding the SACC's continuing participation in the programme.

Excavated Palestinian Lives in Silwan

Ecumenical Accompaniers Scott Smith and Dudu Masango recount the experiences of Palestinian families in East Jerusalem where Israeli authorities have destroyed a growing number of homes in the past decade. Smith and Masango visited Silwan on 5 November 2008, shortly after the demolition of several homes the al-Bustan neighbourhood. They share their experiences and insights in this article. [PDF - ]

An Open Letter to South African Political Leaders

Addressing members of the Mpumalanga provincial legislature at the fourth annual Speaker's Breakfast, the SACC President, Prof. Tinyiko Maluleke, issues a challenge to all political leaders on the eve of the nation's fourth democratic general election. He warns against both the "politics of the stomach" and the "politics of disgrace" and invites leaders instead to pursue the "politics of affirmation" and to aspire to servant leadership.

SACC Warns of Challenges Ahead

Council officials comment on the electoral and economic challenges that confront South Africa in the coming months.

NEC Communique

The SACC National Executive Committee met for the first time in 2009 and commented on the looming national and provincial elections, moral reconstruction, the continuing battle against HIV and other preventable diseases, poverty and inequality, and the crises in Zimbabwe and the Holy Land.

Gaza Statement

The SACC details plans to work jointly with the Southern African Catholic Bishops' Conference, the Congress of South African Trade Unions, and the Gift of the Givers Foundation to dispatch emergency humanitarian relief to the people of Gaza.

*** 2008 ***

Peace is Cool and there is Nothing Sexy About Violence!

In an address at Marianhill, outside Durban, SACC President Prof. Tinyiko Maluleke calls the Church to the task of building peace. "We must seriously reflect on our many ways and many layers of complicity in society's project of violence," Prof. Maluleke told the gathering. "We must seek to understand the many ways in which we both opt for and are co-opted in the service of violence. All of us must come to recognize our roles, positions and job descriptions in the kingdom of violence."

SACC Gives Thanks for the Life of Miriam Makeba

The General Secretariat and the Praesidium of the Council have written to the family of the late Dr. Miriam Makeba to extend condolences on the world- renowned singer and activist's untimely death in Italy on 10 November. "Her unique gift was her ability to use her musical talents to enrich and inspire others, to open our eyes to injustice and to impart a vision of a more humane and compassionate world,” the Council wrote.

African Child Rights Advocates Urge Corporal Punishment Ban

The SACC joined child rights advocates from across the continent to make a joint submission to the African Committee of Experts on the Rights and Welfare of the Child in Addis Ababa on 3 November. The submission asked the Committee to issue a written statement urging African states to prohibit corporal and other forms of humiliating punishment of children and to develop measures to promote compliance with the ban.

Attack on Zim Women's March a Sign of Continuing Crisis

Council officials condemned the recent attack by Zimbabwean police on a peaceful World Food Day demonstration organised by Women of Zimbabwe Arise (WOZA). The SACC expressed concern that the current climate in Zimbabwe is not conducive to a fair trial for detained leaders Magodonga Mahlangu and Jenni Williams. The Council reiterated calls for civil society to be involved in the search for a peaceful and just resolution to the country's ongoing political crisis.

Israeli Military Incursion into a Hebron Home

Ashwin Pienaar, an SACC-trained Ecumenical Accompanier in Palestine and Israel, shares his experience of witnessing the occupation by Israeli soldiers of a Palestinean family's home in Hebron. His eyewitness account gives a powerful glimpse into the hardships and indignities that residents of the West Bank face on a daily basis.

CSG Abuse Claims "Anecdotal" Say SACC, Black Sash

The SACC and the Black Sash have issued a joint statement to challenge unsubstantiated claims that young mothers are abusing the Child Support Grant by squandering it on non-essential items. They note that recent studies have shown the grant to be well-targeted and effective in helping to tackle child hunger and promote school attendance.

SACC Statement on the Resignation of President Thabo Mbeki

The Council has expressed disappointment at the manner in which President Mbeki has been forced to resign and called upon the ANC to act swiftly to address the leadership void and to reassure both South Africans and the international community that good governance is not under threat.

A Plea to the ANC NEC and the People of South Africa

The Council of Churches has called for all political groupings, including the ANC and its alliance partners, to respect the ruling of Judge Chris Nicholson and to desist from using the judgement as a pretext for rash political action that might plunge the country into political crisis.

Violence Must End for Credible Zim Talks, Churches Say

The National Executive Committee has issued a strong call for the cessation of violence in Zimbabwe as a necessary condition for credible talks. Church leaders said Robert Mugabe's government had primary responsibility for halting the violence, which has reached alarming levels. They said the negotiations must make space for all voices to be heard, and they slammed the government's "incoherent and ad hoc" responses to xenophobic attacks.

Council Condemns "Unhelpful" Approach to Undocumented Refugees

SACC leaders have reiterated their strong condemnation of hostility towards foreign nationals and their willingness to work with public officials to facilitate the reintegration of displaced people into communities, where feasible. In this context, the Council has been "appalled" by the recent actions of the South African Police Service and the Department of Home Affairs officials at the Glenanda shelter. Prof. Tinyiko Maluleke, President of the SACC, said their behaviour "makes a mockery of government's commitment to respect the rights of foreigners."

Statement of the Ecumenical Summit on Zimbabwe

Delegates from around the region adopted a strongly- worded statement at the end of their four-day summit. The statement asks SADC governments to refuse to recognise former President Robert Mugabe's illegitimate regime and to impose targeted sanctions on Zimbabwe. It also urges President Mbeki to intensify his efforts to mediate the crisis and to refrain from any action that might be seen to compromise his impartiality.

Summit Backs Zimbabwe Sanctions

Church leaders from around the region have strongly endorsed a call for the imposition of targeted sanctions against Zimbabwe as a practical measure to loosen former President Robert Mugabe's "illegitimate" grip on power and promote a negotiated political settlement.

"The Drought is Ending" Ecumenical Leader Tells Zimbabwe

In his sermon at the opening of an ecumenical summit on Zimbabwe, Council for World Mission Moderator Rev. Dr. Roderick Hewitt told worshippers that a day of accountability is coming for Zimbabwe and former President Robert Mugabe. He likened Mugabe's unjust rule to that of King Ahab and called on churches to speak out and to work vigorously for justice and peace in Zimbabwe.

Ecumenical Leaders to Convene Zimbabwe Summit

The SACC, together with the Council for World Mission and two SACC member denominations, will convene an international ecumenical summit on Zimbabwe. Entitled "Overcoming Fear by Faith: Churches in Solidarity with the People of Zimbabwe", the meeting will bring together more than 60 church and community leaders to explore ways in which churches can bring their faith to bear in practical ways in support of the quest for justice, peace and reconciliation in Zimbabwe.

SACC Calls for Stronger Action on Zimbabwe

In the wake of Zimbabwe's farcical one-candidate presidential "run-off election" on Saturday, the Council calls on nations to refuse to recognise the illegitimate leadership of former President Robert Mugabe and to impose sanctions on Zimbabwe in order to intensify pressure for a political settlement there.

SACC Executive Condemns Zimbabwe Violence

At an extraordinary meeting on 23 June, the SACC National Executive condemned the intensified violence in Zimbabwe that has led presidential frontrunner Morgan Tsvangirai to withdraw from the presidential runoff election scheduled for 27 June. The NEC said it was clear that the conditions for a free and fair election did not exist. The Executive also discussed ways of ministering to those displaced by recent "xenophobic" violence in South Africa and called on political and community leaders to desist from using violent and inflammatory language.

SACC Apologises for Attacks on Foreign Nationals

In a move mandated by the SACC Central Committee, the General Secretary has written to other Christian Councils in the region to express the SACC's shock and contrition with respect to a recent wave of attacks on foreign nationals living in South Africa. The Council invites sisters and brothers in faith in neighbouring countries to work together to find development paradigms that promote justice, equality and human dignity.

Justice in Post-Apartheid South Africa

Earlier this year, SACC President Prof. Tinyiko Maluleke gave the keynote address at the Annual Conference of the Foundation for Church-led Restitution in Cape Town. His remarks, "Toward a Theology of Restitution," were much-commended, so we are pleased to make the full address available here.

"Bread for the Poor, Bread for the Stranger" say Churches

The SACC held its annual Central Committee meeting in Johannesburg around the theme of "Give us this day our daily bread". The meeting commemorated the Council's fortieth anniversary, but the celebrations were bittersweet as delegates met in the midst of enormous human suffering occasioned by rapidly rising prices for food and fuel, violent community protests that have targeted foreign nationals from other parts of Africa, and the continuing crisis in Zimbabwe.

Colonialism Runs Riot!

As the South African Council of Churches celebrates its fortieth anniversary, former Head of SACC Communications, Rev. Bernard Spong, assesses the new colonialism of globalisation and consumerism and asks what theses phenomena mean for the future role of the Council.

Churches Leaders Call for Peace with Justice in Alex

Following a visit by a delegation of Gauteng church leaders to conflict-torn Alexandra, the Council has condemned the violence and has made a commitment to working with community leaders to address the underlying social and economic factors. It has also warned against simply attributing the conflict to "xenophobia" without recognising the complexity of the forces at work in South Africa and the region.

Churches Applaud Aid to Distressed Households

The General Secretary has welcomed Minister Zola Skweyiya's announcement that the government will make more than R120 million available to relieve short-term economic hardships faced by many families.

Apartheid Wall Divides Bedouin Communities

A further report from Ecumenical Accompanier Scott Smith on the challenges faced by Bedouin families in occupied Palestine.

SACC Calls for Release of Zimbabwe Election Results

The Council says that, in spite of "worrying signs" of electoral irregularities, the people of Zimbabwe have spoken in that nation's 29 March poll, and the SACC calls for the release of long-delayed results to ensure that people do not lose faith in the electoral process.

Chaos at Qalqiliya's North Terminal

Ecumenical Accompanier Scott Smith submits an eyewitness account of a morning at the north gate in the town of Qalqiliya, a community completely surrounded by Israel's apartheid wall.

Buys Family Thanks Ecumenical Movement

The family of the late Rev. James Buys, who died suddenly on 1 March 2008, expresses its thanks to the members of the ecumenical family around the world for the love and support shown to them following Rev. Buys' death.

SACSEC Begins Preparations for 2009 Elections

The South African Civil Society Election Coalition (SACSEC), formerly known as SACSOC, has reconvened in preparation for the 2009 national and provincial elections. The Coalition is a national initiative of more than 40 non-governmental and faith-based organisations committed to the conduct of free, fair and credible elections.

Bedouin Homesteads Near Zufin Face Destruction

Bedouin families outside of Qalqiliya contend with the destruction of their property by the Israeli Defense Force. EAPPI Accompanier Scott Smith shares a brief sketch of one family's struggle.

Roadblocks Inhibit Palestinians' Free Movement

EAPPI Accompanier Scott Smith reports on the intentional obstruction of transportation routes around Azzun and the impact it has on the lives of Palestinians.

Council to Honour Chikane and Other Ecumenical "Heroes"

As part of it fortieth anniversary celebrations, the SACC will hold a service of Remembrance and Thanksgiving on 23 February in Kliptown. The service will give thanks to God for sparing the life of former SACC General Secretary Dr. Frank Chikane, who was the target of an assassination attempt in 1989. The Council will also recognise the contributions of dozens of "unsung" heroes and heroines who played a vital role in the struggle for jutice and democracy in South Africa.

Leaders Condemn Attack on Church

At its first meeting of 2008, the Church Leaders' Forum discussed a wide range of topics including election-related violence in Kenya, Zimbabwe and Pakistan; the state of South Africa in the wake of the Polokwane conference, and a variety of economic concerns. The discussion was dominated, however, by the alarming attack by police on hundreds of people living at the Central Methodist Church, many of whom have been displaced from Zimbabwe. The Church Leaders' Forum, which is convened by the SACC, brings together Christian leaders to discuss issues of mutual concern.

Churches Call for Action to Prevent HIV Transmission

The SACC has called on government to release the long-overdue revised guidelines for the prevention of mother-to-child transmission of HIV. The National Strategic Plan endorsed last year provides for the upgrading of the current mono therapy protocol to the more effective dual therapy recommended by the World Health Organisation. The General Secretary expressed concern that South Africa is not doing enough to prevent children from being born with HIV.

Fraudsters Attempt to Swindle Churches

An unscrupulous individual has apparently been attempting to defraud churches by posing as an SACC employee and using the promise of donations to gain access to congregational banking details. The General Secretary warns churches to be caution about unexpected gifts or unreasonably advantageous offers.


*** 2007 ***

Hedging About: An Assessment of the ANC Conference

Former SACC Communications head Bernard Spong offers a personal assessment of the recent ANC Elective Conference and, in particular, the leadership contest that dominated the event. The key challenge for church and state alike, he argues, is the destruction of walls of separation and privilege, not merely revising the ways that we tend these barrier "hedges".

The Message to the ANC, its Leadership & Delegates

The National Executive Committee (NEC) of the South African Council of Churches (SACC) has engaged in various interventions and intercessions in view of various developments relating to the 52nd elective Conference of the ruling party ANC. The Council has been particularly concerned with the tone and conduct of the leadership succession processes in the run-up to the Polokwane conference. As part of our concern, the Council has previously issued statements condemning what we have come to call the ‘politics of disgrace’.

Vision & leadership, the challenge we face today

My 14 year old son has taught me many things, from hip-hop to play station two. One of the finer lessons I will always appreciate from him though, relates to a film genre based on a view of the world from the future back to the present. These are the so-called futuristic films in which things are fast-forwarded to fifty or a hundred years or more from now. In such films we get a glimpse of how life will be lived in the future. Inspired and emboldened by the schooling received from my son, find below my attempt to do a futuristic scenario our beloved country of South Africa – sixty years from now.

Consultation on Genetics and New Biotechnologies

The Aide Memoire from the SACC Consultation on Genetics and New Biotechnologies demands that the creativity of science be harnessed to the advancement of the common good, calls for enhanced study and understanding of various aspects and implications of the new technologies and the protection of peoples and cultures.

Consultation on Genetics and New Biotechnologies

An SACC consultation on Genetics and New Biotechnologies agreed that the teachings of the churches need to be developed further in response to the challenges of biotechnology and the impact it has on peoples' lives. At the same time, participants stressed the need for caution in light of the potential for damage and the tendency for commercial interests to eclipse other concerns. Dr Puleng Lenka-Bula, the SACC's Vice President, said "Biotechnology, in many of its current applications, is like the apartheid system; it thrives on and leads to the indignity of persons and communities."

Biko on Religion and Black Liberation

Thirty years after Steve Biko's death in detention, Professor Maluleke analyses the SASO leader and Black Consciousness founder's profound impact on politics, culture and theology and examines the continuing challenges facing South Africa.

SACC Prays for SA, its People and its Political Leaders

South African Council of Churches (SACC) calls on politicians and the media of our country to stop and remember where we come from as a fledging nation and as a people recently formed.

PBC: Expectations from the medium term budget policy statement

The Peoples' Budget Campaign (PBC), a civil society coalition consisting of COSATU, SACC and SANGOCO, has for the past nine years tabled proposals on spending and revenue. The PBC bases its proposals from a pro-poor perspective and within the framework of the realisation of socio-economic rights, including but not limited to the right to dignity and life.

SACC's Conversation on Succession Matters

Representatives from SACC member churches called on the religious community to encourage diversity of opinion and a free, frank and open debate in the processes leading to the selection of the new ANC leadership and all political leaders of our country. Processes relating to elections are critical for the strength of democracy in our country.

Towards a Nation of Black Diamonds

In an address to the Holy Cross Education Trust, SACC President Prof. Tinyiko Maluleke urges South Africans to invest in life and the education of the nation's youth.

SACC salutes the Anglican Church for the election of its new bishop

SACC President Professor Tinyiko Maluleke welcomed Anglican Bishop Thabo Makgoba's election as the Archbishop Elect of Cape Town calling the choice an excellent one for the Anglican Church and the ecumenical movement as a whole.

SACC calls on South Africans to support Burma's democracy activists

The SACC salutes the courage of thousands of Burmese democracy activists and Buddhist monks who have peacefully protested devastating price increases imposed by Burma's military junta. The Council expressed concern about the brutal tactics that have been used to disperse demonstrators.

New SACC Executive Slates "Politics of Disgrace"

At its first meeting, the new National Executive Committee of the SACC, elected at the Council's triennial National Conference in July, deliberated on a wide range of theological, social and economic issues. The meeting issued a communique expressing concern about the growing use of the "politics of disgrace" and commenting on the upcoming ANC Policy Conference and the situation in Zimbabwe.

Vlok Decision May Complicate Quest for Justice

Mr Vlok and his four co-conspirators reached a plea bargain deal with the NPA and pleaded guilty to the crime of poisoning the Rev Dr Frank Chikane. Maluleke expressed concern that this court judgment may set a precedent complicating our national search for justice and subsequent reconciliation and healing.

Activists Call for a "New Vision" of Land Reform

Land activists from churches, communities and civil society have called on government to work with communities to develop a new, more ambitious land reform programme that can ensure that all landless households have access to land, sustainable livelihood and food security.

SACC Calls for Intensified Action to End Public Service Strike

The South African Council of Churches is profoundly concerned about the impact that the current industrial action in the public service sector is having on ordinary South Africans, particularly those living in poor and marginalised households.

SACC Concerned About Strike Action

An SACC delegation, led by SACC President Prof. Russel Botman, met with representatives of both government and striking public sector workers this week to hear their concerns and to impress upon both sides the need for a fair, just and sustainable settlement that minimises the burdens on poor and and marginalised households.

SACC Joins WCC Call for Peace in Palestine and Israel

In preparation for the global week of church action for peace in the Holy Land, the SACC has called on its member to join the initiative and has asked participants to "be peaceful in advocating peace". The Council also announced a schedule of events to take place during the week.

International Church Action for Peace In Palestine and Israel

To highlight the urgency of peace in Palestine and Israel after 40 years of occupation, the World Council of Churches (WCC), member churches and related organizations are organizing a week of prayers, seminars and advocacy to mark this June's anniversary of the 1967 Arab-Israeli war.

Tribute to Sophie Mazibuko

Mrs. Sophie Mazibuko, the former head of the SACC Dependant's Conference during the apartheid era, passed away on 15 May and will be greatly missed by friends and colleagues around the world. The Council remembers Ma Sophie in a tribute prepared by the Rev. Bernard Spong.

Former SACC General Secretary named Ambassador to DRC

Dr. Molefe Tsele, who served as SACC General Secretary from May 2001 to March 2006, has been appointed by the South African government to serve as Ambassador to the Democratic Republic of Congo. The SACC has congratulated Dr. Tsele and commended the appointment in the light of Dr. Tsele's strong commitment to peace and justice.

Is This Really 'A World Fit for Children'?

Ecumenical Accompanier Kimendhri Pillay talks examines the conditions in which most Palestinian children live in light of United Nations' resolutions on children.

10080 Minutes in Paradise - The Ride to Agadir and Other Stories

Michael Oliphant relates some of his experiences as an Ecumenical Accompanier in Palestine.

Its Time to Act for Peace and Justice in Zimbabwe

The SACC expressed concern over the beating and detention of church and human rights activists in Zimbabwe. The General Secretary said that South Africa's silence was aggravating the problem, which he said threatened to destabilise the region. He called on SADC governments to enhance peace and security for all people of the region and he challenged churches to take a stand against xenophobia.


*** 2006 ***

Ecumenical Movement Gives Thanks for the Life of Dr. Kistner

Dr. Wolfram Kistner, the former Director of the Council's Justice and Reconciliation Division, has passed away in Johannesburg at the age of 83. The SACC gives thanks for the life of this great pastor, theologian, activist and friend.

Civil Society Partnership to Save Lives

A group of civil society organisations, including the SACC, issued this statement on World AIDS Day.

SACC Outraged by AIDS "Cure" Claim

The Council is outraged by reports that a traditional healer has claimed that more than 500 people have been cured of HIV infection in the past two years using a variety of African herbs. The General Secretary has called on churches to be centres of accurate information about the disease and its prevention and to provide compassionate care and support for those infected with and affected by the virus.

Council Concerned About Torture, Poll Delays in Western Sahara

Following a meeting with representatives of the Saharawi Republic, the General Secretary has expressed concern about reports of torture and human rights abuses in Western Sahara. He called on the South African government to use its influence at the United Nations to hasten the promised referendum on the territory's future.

International Church Action for Peace in Palestine and Israel

ICAPPI will hold its second annual advocacy week 3-9 June 2007 and the SACC will participate once again. Clement John's letter shares advance information about the event.

Sabeel Conference Calls for Prayer, Advocacy

The General Secretary of the SACC took part in the Sixth International Conference of Sabeel, an ecumenical grassroots liberation theology movement among Palestinian Christians. The Conference Statement calls on Sabeel's friends to commit themselves to active prayer, education, and advocacy on behalf of the Palestinian people.

Council Urges Retailers to Reconsider Court Bid

Reacting to reports that some of South Africa's largest clothing retailers are planning to take the government to court to block the introduction of protective quotas on Chinese textile imports, the SACC General Secretary urged the retailers to reconsider the move. He encouraged them to use established negotiating forums instead to resolve the dispute in a way that would help to save and create jobs for South African workers.

Civil Society HIV/AIDS Congress Statement and Resolutions

Three hundred and fifty delegates from civil society organisations met 27-28 October to discuss and assess the national response to HIV prevention and treatment, to devise programmes and to share knowledge and experiences. The unprecedented Congress, hosted by the SACC, TAC,COSATU and SANGOCO, took place at a critically important time, as government leads the process to review the South African National AIDS Council (SANAC) and develop a new National Strategic plan on HIV and AIDS (2007-2011).

Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu Celebrates his 75th Birthday

The SACC invites friends and well-wishers to send greetings to Anglican Archbishop Emeritus and former SACC General Secretary Desmond Tutu to mark his recent 75th birthday.

 

People's Budget Coalition Responds to the 2006 Medium Term Budget Policy Statement

The People's Budget Coalition (SACC, COSATU and SANGOCO) welcomed the expansionary three-year budget framework for the period leading up to the 2010 World Cup, but challenged government to ensure that the World Cup does not just become a short-lived turn on the world stage but "a springboard to meeting broader state objectives: achieving sustainable reductions in unemployment, poverty, and inequality; investing in basic infrastructure - such as reliable and efficient public transport - that serves the needs of all South Africans, especially the poor and the working poor.

Civil Society Coalition Releases Discussion Documents for HIV/AIDS Congress

The Civil Society Coalition (SACC, COSATU, SANGOCO and TAC) organising the 27-28 October Civil Society Congress on HIV/AIDS has released a series of discussion documents in preparation for the event.

SACC Outraged by Murder of Bishop Alberto Ramento

The General Secretary expressed the Council's shock at the murder of Bishop Alberto Ramento, the former Prime Bishop of the Philippine Independent Church (IFI). Bishop Ramento was stabbed to death in the rectory of his church in Tarlac, Philippines, on 3 October. His death is the latest in a series of murders of Christian leaders and human rights activists in the Philippines.

Churches applaud South Africa's Security Council Seat

The SACC welcomed South Africa's election to the United Nations Security Council and urged the South African government to use its mandate to promote economic justice, peace and good stewardship of the environment.

SACC Executive Aims to Expand Dialogue on Moral Regeneration

The quarterly meeting of the Council's National Executive Committee expressed concern about the moral decay evident in our society's casual attitude to poverty, greed, crime and violence. It also urged Christians not to allow differences of opinion on the question of same-sex marriages to divide the church or to divert it from the task of moral regeneration.

Building Solidarity and an Action Plan to Save Lives

The South African Council of Churches, COSATU, the South African National NGO Coalition (SANGOCO) and the Treatment Action Campaign announced details of a major new initiative to prevent and treat HIV in South Africa.

SACC, UUCSA Issue Joint Call for Respect and Tolerance

In the wake of an international furore over the remarks made by Pope Benedict XVI at a scientific colloquium at the University of Regensburg, the South African Council of Churches and the United Ulama Council of South Africa have issued a joint call for calm, religious tolerance and mutual respect. The statement was motivated in part by reports of attacks on Christian churches in Palestine, an area in which there has historically been cordial relations between the Christian and Muslim communities.

SACC Calls for Justice for the "Cuban Five" and All Political Prisoners

The General Secretary joined with other civil society organisations around the world in expressing concern about the fate of five Cubans imprisoned in the United States. On the eighth anniversary of their incarceration, the General Secretary called on the US to ensure justice for the "Cuban Five", to end its punative blockade of Cuba, and to take action against individuals who use US soil as a base for launching terrorist attacks on Cuba.

Ecumenical Leaders Applaud Import Quotas

The SACC and the Economic Justice Network have welcomed the South African government's plans to introduce new quotas on clothing imports from China. SACC General Secretary Eddie Makue noted that the restrictions were coinsistent with the principles articulated by the global ecumenical campaign for trade justice and pledged the Council's support for trade union efforts to secure compliance from clothing retaillers.

SACC Letter on Marriage

As Parliament prepares to consider how best to respond to the Constitutional Court's December 2005 ruling that the Marriage Act must be developed to bring it in line with South Africa's Constitution, the General Secretary of the SACC has written to the Chairs of the Parliamentary Portfolio Committees on Home Affairs and Justice & Constitutional Development to articulate a religious motivation for marriage equality.

Vlok's Act of Contrition Welcome, But Insufficient

Following press reports that former Minister of Law and Order Adriaan Vlok had washed the feet of former SACC General Secretary Dr. Frank Chikane as an act of contrition for apartheid-era crimes, the SACC welcomed Vlok's private apology but called for full disclosure and a public apology as a further sign of repentance.

SACC Calls for Cooperation to Fight HIV/AIDS Pandemic

The General Secretary called for much more to be done to combat the "epidemic of death that is sweeping our nation" following a meeting with the Treatment Action Campaign (TAC) to discuss the issues raised in TAC's 24 August Global Day of Action.

Prayers for the Month of Compassion

The SACC Central Committee voted to dedicate the traditional August "Month of Compassion" to remembering victims of crime and violence, especially violence against women. The Council's Faith and Mission Unit has compiled prayers and litanies appropriate for use during the month.

Bishop of Jerusalem appeals for urgent ceasefire

The SACC received a letter from The Rt. Rev. Riah H. Abu El-Assal, the Anglican Bishop of Jerusalem, appealing for increased international pressure for an immediate ceasefire in the Middle East.

SACC Protests US Ban on Aid to Cuban Council

The General Secretary has written to US President George Bush to object to the recommendation of the Commission for Assistance to a Free Cuba that the United States halt the distribution of humanitarian aid through the Cuban Council of Churches.

SACC Asks SA Government to Broker Mideast Peace

The SACC has called on the South African government to host a peace process, modeled on South Africa's Truth and Reconciliation Commission, for all parties to the current conflict in the Middle East.

SA Accompanier Attacked by Settler in Hebron

Duduzile Masango, a South African volunteer participating in the Ecumenical Accompaniment Programme for Palestine and Israel, was assaulted by an Israeli settler whilst waiting for the girls whom they had been accompanying to and from school. This is Duduzile's account of the incident, over which the World Council of Churches has lodged a complaint with the Israeli Ambassador to South Africa.

Central Committee Discusses ASGI-SA, Violent Crime

The SACC's Central Committee discussed a range of domestic and international issues at their two-day annual meeting on 11-12 July. The Committee affirmed the need to work with government on the Accelerated and Shared Growth Initiative, but emphasised that the moral obligation to share applies independently of the success of growth-oriented measures. Delegates expressed concern about increased levels of violence locally and globally and authorised the production of materials to help churches separate fears from fiction and grapple with the underlying issues. Other topics included: Zimbabwe, Rwanda, Palestine and Israel, and HIV/AIDS.

Council "Shattered" by the Death of Former President, Bishop Sigqibo Dwane

The SACC and AACC are shocked by the tragic deaths of former SACC President Bishop Sigqibo Dwane, the outgoing Presiding Bishop of the Ethiopian Episcopal Church, and his wife, Ntombezinhlanu, in a multi-vehicle accident last night.

SACC Statement on Violence tearing South African Society Apart

úViolence is the problem that most concerns Americans. And it is a problem that has defied most of the solutions we have adopted against it; from longer prison sentences to the death penalty.î-James Gilligan, an American psychiatrist.

SACC Executive Discusses National and Regional Issues

The National Executive Committee of the South African Council of Churches (SACC) discussed a range of national and regional issues at its quarterly meeting yesterday, including the persistently high levels of violence in the nation and the forthcoming elections in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

SACC Mourns the Death of Eric Molobi

The General Secretary said that South Africa had lost a great leader and patriot with the passing of Eric Molobi. Molobi, Executive Director of Kagiso Trust, played a central role in establishing the Joint Enrichment Project to equip youth for church and community leadership.

Church, Union Agree to Explore New Partnerships

SACC and National Union of Mineworkers officials met in the wake of the NUM President's critical comments on Christianity. The NUM apologised unreservedly for the remarks and invited churches to explore new partnership opportunities.

Justice for the Rich; Nothing for the Poor

In the wake of the acquittal of five accused murderers in the Phongola district this week, activist organisation Church Land Programme has expressed outrage at the lack of legal support and access to justice for the rural poor in South Africa.

Council Backs Call to Action on AIDS

The Council of Churches endorsed the the 23 April march by the Treatment Action Campaign, the SA Democratic Teachers' Union and the Rural AIDS and Development Action Research Programme intended to promote the call to prevent the infection of two million people over the next four years. 

SACC Mourns Death of Bishop Harold Ben Senatle

The General Secretary, Mr Eddie Makue, extended the Council's condolences to the family of AME Bishop Harold Ben Senatle who died this week at the age of 79. Bishop Senatle was remembered as a vocal opponent of apartheid, an advocate of education and a friend of the ecumenical movement.

SACC Appoints New General Secretary

The National Executive Committee of the SACC has named Mr. Eddie Makue, the current Deputy General Secretary, to replace Dr. Molefe Tsele when his five-year term as General Secretary concludes on 1 April 2006.

SACC Executive Considers Elections, Arms, Same-Sex Unions

In its first meeting of 2006, the SACC National Executive Commmittee discussed a range of topics including the recent municipal elections and forthcoming elections in the DRC, small arms control, improving living conditions for refugees in South Africa, Palestine and Israel, and February's ecumenical seminar on same-sex unions. 

SACC Joins World Churches in Calling For Mideast Peace

The South African Council of Churches will take part in a global week of "International Church Action for Peace in Palestine and Israel" from 12 to 19 March 2006 in response to a call from Jerusalem church leaders. There will be a service at St. George's Cathedral in Cape Town to mark the commencement of the week, and, in Johannesburg, the SACC will train more volunteers to take part in the World Council of Churches' Ecumenical Accompaniment Programme in Palestine and Israel. 

SACSOC Commends Free and Fair Municipal Elections

The South African Civil Society Observation Coalition (SACSOC), which is co-ordinated by the South African Council of Churches, pronounced the 1 March municipal government elections "free and fair". The Coalition said it was proud of the maturity of South Africa's voters and the efficiency of the Electoral Commission machinery. It noted some minor administrative problems which will be taken up with the Commission, but which did not mar the outcome of the elections. The Coalition expressed the hope that the election will "build a foundation for accelerated and improved delivery of services, particularly to poorer households."

People's Budget Response to the 2006 Budget

The People's Budget Coalition -- which includes the SACC, the Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) and the South African NGO Coalition (SANGOCO) -- welcomed the Minister of Finance's 2006-2007 National Budget, saying that it "promises real benefits for the poor". At the same time, the Coalition questioned the budget's capacity to support employment creation, contribute to more equitable access to assets, skills and infrastructure and extend social protection to ensure that no South African suffers destitution.

Churches Initiate a Broad Discussion of Same-Sex Marriages

More than 100 delegates from Christian churches - both members and non-members of the SACC - gathered on 6-7 February to discuss same-sex marriage. The meeting took place following the recent Constitutional Court ruling that South Africa's Marriage Act is inconsistent with the Constitution's prohibition of discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation. The event was just a preliminary conversation on a complex and emotive subject, yet participants broadly supported a number of key principles concerning the role of scripture, the importance of the Constitution, the imperative to love and affirm all people and the need to continue the dialogue.

Jerusalem Church Leaders Urge World Churches to Advocate for Peace

Church Leaders in Jerusalem write to motivate participation in the World Council of Churches International Church Action for Peace in Palestine and Israel, 12-19 March 2006. The South African Council of Churches has endorsed this initiative and urges all people of faith to pray for a just peace in the region.

SA Interfaith Delegation Explores Reconciliation in Rwanda

An interfaith delegation to Rwanda, led by the SACC in December 2005 at the invitation of the South African Ambassador to Rwanda, HE Mr. Ezra Sigwela, recounts its experiences. The delegation met with senior officials of the Rwandan government, officials of Rwanda's Gacaca courts, leaders of the National Unity and Reconciliation Commission, and representatives of the country's faith communities. The report concludes with suggestions for what people of faith in South Afirca can do to support peace and reconciliation in Rwanda.

Tulkarem Youth: Hopes and Fears in a Troubled Society

Ashwin Pienaar, a South African participant in the World Council of Churches' Ecumenical Accompaniment Programme in Palestine and Israel (EAPPI), introduces us to the Dar Qandeel Cultural Centre in Tulkarem and shares insights gleaned from conversations with young Palestinians.

Churches, Equality and Same-Sex Unions

The South African Council of Churches will convene a theological consultation on same-sex unions in early February. In an opinion column prepared for theFinancial Mail, the General Secretary of the SACC discusses the Church's public ministry in the midst of this contentious debate.


*** 2005 ***

Interfaith Delegation to Explore Reconciliation in Rwanda

At the invitation of the South African Ambassador to Rwanda, the SACC's Proclaiming Reconciliation Programme is organising a visit to Kigali by seven South African Christian and Muslim leaders members, to coincide with South Africa's Day of Reconciliation celebrations on 16 December. The delegation will meet with their counterparts in Rwanda to discuss the role of faith communities in promoting reconciliation and national unity.

SACC Mourns the Passing of Mr. Richard Khanyi

SACC members mourn the death of Mr. Richard Khanyi, a 15 year veteran of the Council's national staff. Richard was the driver for four successive General Secretaries and was many visitors' first point of contact with the Council as he met them at the airport. He will be sorely missed by family, friends and colleagues.

SACC Responds to Constitutional Court Decision on Same-Sex Marriage

The SACC commended the Constitutional Court for the sensitivity of its decision declaring the Marriage Act unconstitutional because it discriminates against same-sex couples. The Court emphasised that its decision does not impose any additional duties on local congregations. The Council welcomed the opportunity for Parliament to be involved in drafting a new Marriage Act.

COSATU, SACC and TAC Step Up Campaign to Prevent and Treat HIV

The Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU), the SACC and the Treatment Action Campaign (TAC) have issued a joint statement and plan of action designed to press for an effective national HIV prevention plan and improved access to anti-retroviral therapy for as a step towards universal treatment access.

The Road from Aqraba Ends at Yanoun

EAPPI trainer Rev. Janet Trisk gives a poignant perspective on the history of the West Bank, the significance of Wall and recent events in Hebron and Yanoun following a visit to Israel and Palestine to attend the opening of the Jerusalem Ecumenical Centre.

Faith Leaders Endorse Statement on Violence Against Women and Children

Marking the commencement of the annual 16 Days of Activism Against Violence Against Women and Children, faith leaders in the National Religious Leaders Forum (NRLF) endorsed a statement acknowledging that "even those who have been entrusted with the care of vulnerable people ... have often abused that trust." The faith leaders committed themselves to taking action to halt such abuses. 

SA Churches Ask What Must Be Done About Namibian Graves

The General Secretary of the SACC has written to the Namibian Council of Churches to ask for recommendations on how South Africans can honour the memory of Namibian soldiers found in mass graves in northern Namibia. He has also called on South Africans with information about the apartheid-era massacres to come forward and reveal what they know. 

General Secretary's Contract Coming to an End

The President of the SACC, Prof Russel Botman, announced that the NEC would form a Search Committee to seek a successor for the current General Secretary, Dr. Molefe Tsele, when his contract expires early next year. Prof. Botman praised Dr. Tsele's leadership at a critical juncture in the life of the Council and the nation.

Meeting a West Bank Settler

Ms. Afiefah Osman, a South African participant in the World Council of Churches' Ecumenical Accompanier Programme for Palestine and Israel, tells about her encounter with a young woman whose family had settled in the West Bank. Their conversation provides a rare glimpse into one settler's views on faith, culture and relationships. 

WCC Ecumenical Team Reports on Visit to Zimbabwe

A six-person team of ecumenical leaders visited Zimbabwe at the beginning of October to gain a better understanding of the situation in that country. Their report summarises their major findings and makes recommendations for further action. 

Resolutions of the National Conference on Racial and Gender Justice

The SACC National Conference on Racial and Gender Justice adopted resolutions on the policies and practices of faith communities, the development of a spirituality to combat racism and sexism, internalised racism, and the use of specially trained Racial/Gender Justice commissioners. 

Occupation and the Oppression of Identity in Palestine

Ms. Afiefah Osman, a South African participant in the World Council of Churches' Ecumenical Accompanier Programme for Palestine and Israel, writes about her experiences on her return from the Middle East: "Freedom in South Africa has taken on a new meaning for me as I had forgotten what it was like to be restricted, but being in Palestine brought back those memories. It was like having a scab pulled off a wound that has not completely healed."

SACC Convenes National Conference on Racial and Gender Justice

The SACC's Healing and Reconciliation Unit is convening a national conference on racial and gender justice, 25-26 October 2005. The consultation will mark the completion of a cycle of research which was launched by the SACC National Conference in 2004. It is hoped that the conferencve will enable participants from various faith communities to develop a common plan of action to confront discrimination within their own structures.

SACC Executive Discusses Social and Political Concerns

Following its quarterly meeting in Johannesburg, the SACC's National Executive Committee issued a communique outlining the Council's views on a range of current issues. The statement touched on floor crossing, party funding, local government elections, circumcision and HIV, orphans, poverty, violence against women and children, and the proposed National Child Safety Watch scheme.

"Operation Hope for Zimbabwe" Relief Arrives

Zimbabwe's Christian Care reports the arrival of food and blankets destined for families displaced by Operation Murambatsvina. The relief, donated by South African churches, was delayed for six weeks by Zimbabwean agricultural and customs restrictions.

Premier Urges Church Factions to Reconcile

Gauteng Premier Mbhazima Shilowa has called on warring factions of the St. John's Apostolic Faith Mission Church of South Africa to put aside differences that have divided the church for more than 30 years. The Premier was speaking at a reconciliation meeting convened by the SACC at Khotso House.

Archbishop Tutu to Intervene in Church Dispute

The SACC has asked a team of Eminent Leaders, including Anglican Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu, Mrs. Adelaide Tambo, and former SACC President Dr. Khoza Mgojo, to mediate a dispute among factions within the St. John's Apostolic Faith Mission. A reconciliation indaba will take place at Khotso House next week ahead of a major meeting of the church.

Council "Relieved" By Release of Zimbabwe Supplies

The Deputy Secretary General, Mr. Eddie Makue, has said he was "relieved" that the SACC, with the help of the South African Department of Agriculture, had finally acquired the necessary papers to enable relief supplies collected by South African churches to be shipped to Zimbabwe.

Zim Food Cleared

The South African Department of Agriculture has helped the SACC to certify that the emergency food supplies being shipped to Zimbabwe are free of genetically modified organisms (GMOs). Relief shipments have been blocked by the Zimbabwe government's refusal to accept the documentation originally provided by the food supplier.

Church Leaders Bless Initial Zim Aid

Anglican Archbishop Njongonkulu Ndungane led prayers for the people of Zimbabwe at today's "Operation Hope for Zimbabwe" blessing ceremony on a busy Johannesburg street. The consignment of 37 tons of food and nearly 5 000 blankets is the first SACC relief shipment to victims of "Operation Murambatsvina".

Church Leaders to Bless Zim Relief

Details of the ceremony of blessing to take place at the South African Council of Churches headquarters, Khotso House, on Monday as part of the "Operation Hope for Zimbabwe" initiative.

First SA Church Aid for Zimbabwe

More information on the first shipment of Operation Hope for Zimbabwe relief supplied to be sent off by the SACC on Monday, 1 August.

"Operation Hope for Zimbabwe" to Send First Batch of Relief

The South African Council of Churches (SACC) will dispatch a container of relief supplies to churches in Zimbabwe next week as the first outcome of "Operation Hope for Zimbabwe". SACC members will announce their pledges to the campaign at a press briefing at Khotso House at 14h00 on Monday, 1 August.

Christian Bodies Worldwide Call for Inquiry into Attack on HIV Activists

The World Council of Churches, the SACC and two dozen other church and ecumenical bodies on six continents have written to South African officials to call for an investigation of the 12 July attack by police on a peaceful Treatment Action Campaign demonstration outside Frontier Hospital in Queenstown, Eastern Cape. Fifty-four people were injured when police used batons, rubber bullets and tear gas to disperse TAC activists campaigning for accelerated roll-out of the government's antiretroviral therapy programme.

Church Leaders Launch "Operation Hope for Zimbabwe

Following on the action by the Central Committee in condemning the Zimbabwean government's "Operation Murambatsvina", a second pastoral delegation has returned from Harare calling for the launch of a massive relief campaign dubbed "Operation Hope for Zimbabwe.

SACC Pastoral Delegation to Zimbabwe Reports

Speaking to the Central Committee of the SACC on their return from a pastoral visit to communities affected by the Zimbabwean government's "Operation Murambatsvina", Prof. Russel Botman and other church leaders described the "shocking" suffering they witnessed. They called on South African churches to launch a National Campaign of Relief, to write letters of solidarity and to pray for the people of Zimbabwe.

Churches Leaders to Visit Zimbabwe

In light of recent reports on the situation in Zimbabwe, the SACC and the All Africa Conference of Churches are co-ordinating a pastoral visit to Harare by a delegation of senior church leaders. The delegation will be led by Prof. Russel Botman, President of the SACC, and Anglican Archbishop Njongonkulu Ndungane.

SA Churches to Present Further Tsunami Relief Funds

On behalf of the SACC, the General Secretary will present a representative of the Fellowship of Christian Councils of Churches in Great Lakes Region and the Horn of Africa (FECCLAHA) with a further R500 000 in relief funds on 6 July. The gift comes six months after a tsunami devastated much of South Asia and the east coast of Africa.

Methodist Church Leaders Speak Out on Zimbabwe

Leaders of the Methodist Church of Southern Africa have called on President Mbeki to revise the South African Government's present policy on refugees from Zimbabwe, called for their humane treatment, and warned of potential genocide in that country.

WCC Condemns Forced Evictions in Zimbabwe

The World Council of Churches has written to Zimbabwe's Minister of Justice to protest the forced evictions associated with Operation Murambatsvina, which has left more than 200,000 homeless. The letter highlights similar concerns expressed by the Zimbabwe Council of Churches and the Zimbabwe Catholic Bishops' Conference.

Church Leaders Herald "New Era" of Children's Rights in SA

Church leaders, including the SACC's General Secretary and Senior Vice President and Bishop Ivan Abrahams, Chair of the South African Church Leaders' Forum, have welcomed the passage of the Children's Bill. Nine years in the making, the landmark legislation gives further recognition to children's rights and regulates the way in which the state deals with vunerable children. Dr. Tsele called the Bill "an appropriate and timely indication of our shared political and moral will to shape our nation around values of mutual care and accountability".

Zuma Decision Shows Strength of SA Democracy

Following President Mbeki's announcement that Deputy President Jacob Zuma has been relieved of his duties, the General Secretary expressed pride in the strength of South Africa's Constitution and respect for the Deputy President's "enormous and laudable contributions ... to freedom and democracy" in South Africa and across Africa.

SACC Delegation to Meet with Deputy President

A pastoral delegation of senior clerics will meet with Deputy President Jacob Zuma to express the concern of the churches and provide a ministry of accompaniment to the Deputy President as he considers the implications of the recent Durban High Court judgement in the Schabir Shaik corruption trial. 

EAPPI Observer Reflects on His Experiences

Maj. Paul Khantsi, Ecumenical Representative Officer for the Salvation Army in South Africa, is currently serving in the West Bank village of Yanoun as part of the World Council of Churches' Ecumenical Accompaniment Programme for Palestine and Israel (EAPPI). In this article, prepared for the Salvation Army magazine, he reflects on his experiences and the importance of EAPPI.

Four Pastors Head List of 18 New Ecumenical Accompaniers in WCC Programme

Four pastors, including three of the five South African delegates, are part of the latest group of 18 Ecumenical Accompaniers to arrive in Israel and Palestine under a two-year-old World Council of Churches programme. Accompaniers work with local churches and non-governmental organisations in Israel and Palestine in an effort to reduce the brutality of the Occupation and improve daily life for people on both sides of the border.

Don't Be Confused by Unproven Medical Claims, SACC Warns

The SACC expressed concern about a recent series of advertisements sponsored by Dr. Matthias Rath. The ads allege that anti-retroviral medications are toxic and claim that AIDS can be effectively treated with multivitamins. They also grossly misrepresent the motivations and strategy of the Treatment Action Campaign (TAC). The SACC reaffirmed its support for the TAC and its right to protect its name through legal action. In an effort to dispel any confusion generated by these ads, the SACC reiterated its understanding that, according to the best available medical evidence, adequate nutrition and appropriate medical treatment - including antiretroviral therapy where clinically indicated - both play an important role in sustaining and improving the lives of people living with HIV.

Interfaith Service Marches for Trade Justice

Singing "Siyahamba - We are marching in the light of God", faith leaders from Christian, Muslim and Jewish traditions led 500 worshippers on a procession from St. George's Anglican Cathedral in Cape Town to St. Mary's Roman Catholic Cathedral, opposite the Houses of Parliament. During the service, organised as part of the Global Week of Action on Trade, Anglican Archbishop Njongonkulu Ndungane made an impassioned plea for an end to poverty and unjust trade rules. Textile workers, whose jobs are being threatened by imports of cheap goods produced under sweatshop conditions in other parts of the world, also spoke movingly of their plight.

[Archbishop's address]

Queenspark Visit Marks Start of Global Week of Action on Trade

A group of 30 religious, labour and community leaders observed the beginning of the Global Week of Action on Trade by paying a visit to clothing retailer Queenspark's outlet in fashionable Cavendish Square shopping mall. The delegation presented a memorandum to the store's manager, calling on Queenspark to sign a local procurement agreement and on Queenspark's parent company, Rex Trueform, to negotiate with workers to prevent closure of its Salt River garment factory. Mall security banned cameras from the premises - citing the need to protect their clients' "intellectual property rights" - so the delegation held an impromptu press conference on the pavement outside the mall.

[About the GWA]

Statements on the Zimbabwe Elections

At a joint press conference in Johannesburg on 7 April, the members of the Zimbabwe Observer Consortium (the SACC, the Southern African Catholic Bishops' Conference, SANGOCO, IDASA, the Institute for Justice and Reconciliation, and the Centre for Policy Studies) released a statement assessing the 31 March Zimbabwe parliamentary elections. The Consortium lauded the "bravery and demeanour of Zimbabweans who contributed to what was largely a peaceful election day" but concluded that the election "has fallen short of ... stringent SADC standards". At the same time, some of the Consortium members, including the SACC, released their own supplemental statements. The SACC statement celebrated the unexpected peacefulness of the elections and urged all parties to work together to address the suffering of Zimbabwe's people.

[Consortium statement]

South African Churches Celebrate the Life of Pope John Paul II

"This is not a time to mourn the passing of a friend, but a moment to celebrate a life lived faithfully and in solidarity with the poor of the world," said Bishop Ivan Abrahams, Chair of the South African Church Leaders' Forum, about the death yesterday of Pope John Paul II, one of history's longest serving pontiffs. The SACC General Secretary remembered the Holy Father as "a friend of South Africa and a supporter of the struggle for democracy, human rights and dignity for all."

SACC General Secretary Refused Entry to Zimbabwe

Dr. Molefe Tsele, the General Secretary of the South African Council of Churches, and Mr. Abie Ditlhake, the General Secretary of the SADC NGO Council, were prohibited from entering Zimbabwe to take part in observing the country's general election, scheduled for 31 March.

SACC Warns Observers Not to Prejudge Zimbabwe's Election

Following a number of premature statements concerning the legitimacy of Zimbabwe's general election, scheduled for 31 March, the General Secretary of the SACC has discouraged observers from prejudging the fairness of the poll. "Making pronouncements on the legitimacy of the election before it even gets underway may undermine confidence in the process, discourage participation and skew the outcome. We must not forget that these are Zimbabwean elections, not South African or SADC elections," Dr. Tsele warned. He said that solidarity actions should be aimed at promoting justice and peace and enabling the people of Zimbabwe to regain control of their lives.

Tribute to Jean-Francois Bill - Pastor, Activist and Theologian

The Rev. Jean-Francois Bill, a former Administrative General Secretary of the South African Council of Churches and Moderator of the Evangelical Presbyterian Church in South Africa, passed away on 12 March, aged 70. Professor Tinyiko Maluleke remembers this remarkable man and his contributions to church and society in South Africa. Hamba kahle, Zukwa!

Save Rex Trueform!

The recently announced closure of Rex Trueform's garment plant in Salt River, Cape Town, threatens to put another 1000 people out of work in an industry that has lost nearly 100 000 formal jobs in the last decade. The SACC and COSATU have come together to form a "Save Jobs Coalition" that is calling on South African textile and footwear retailers to boycott sweatshop-produced goods and to commit to buying at least 75% of their inventory from domestic manufacturers. The Coalition is also calling on government to implement safeguards to protect the clothing and textile industry from unfair competition.

Zimbabwe Elections: SACC Concerned About Accreditation

SACC officials are to lead a team of South African civil society representatives to observe the 31 March elections in Zimbabwe. The observer team has been recruited by a consortium of six South African organisations that came together in response to the African Union's call for civil society to play an active role in Africa's renewal. The SACC General Secretary has asked the Zimbabwe government to approve the consortium's application for accreditation timeously to facilitate the formation of a credible observer delegation.

SACC Calls for a Save Jobs Coalition

As the result of a discussion at the February meeting of the National Executive Committee, the General Secretary has written to the Secretary General of COSATU to express concern about the rapid loss of jobs in the textile industry, to endorse a 75% local procurement agreement in the retail clothing sector and to call on labour, faith-based and community organisations to form a Save Jobs Coalition to promote ethical consumption, fair international labour standards and trade rules, and the creation and retention of quality jobs.

SACC Calls Churches to Mobilise for Justice and Human Rights in Zimbabwe

In a significant departure from its earlier emphasis on pastoral accompaniment of Zimbabwe's churches, the National Executive Committee has urged SACC members to mobilise support for justice, peace and human rights in Zimbabwe. The NEC adopted the resolution, which builds on the position of the 2004 National Conference, after a briefing by the Congress of South African Trade Unions that highlighted the systematic denial of workers' rights in Zimbabwe. "We have heard the cries of ordinary people and trade unionists in Zimbabwe, and we feel we must respond," said the SACC General Secretary, Dr. Molefe Tsele.

SACC Asks ANC to Act Against Komphela for Calling Tutu's View's "Treasonous"

At its meeting of 27-28 February, the National Executive Committee of the SACC expressed "grave disquiet" over remarks attributed to the Chair of the parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Sport, the Hon. Butana Komphela. Mr. Komphela reportedly termed "treasonous" the Archbishop Emeritus' view that the current approach to transformation in sport amounted to little more than "tokenism". The NEC has asked the African National Congress to address the situation as a matter of urgency. It will also send a high-level delegation to pay a pastoral visit to Archbishop Tutu.

SACC Says Condoms Not an Inferior Weapon in the Fight Against HIV and AIDS

In the face of further claims by religious leaders that condoms are not safe, the General Secretary of the SACC reaffirmed the Council's position that condoms have a role to play in preventing HIV transmission. "It is entirely appropriate for religious leaders to express their moral and strategic concerns as part of the national debate on HIV and AIDS," Dr. Tsele said. "However, they should not pretend that their ethical misgivings are validated by scientific evidence." Bishop Ivan Abrahams, Chair of the National Church Leaders' Forum, said that there was "broad acceptance [within Christian churches] that condoms are an appropriate and effective means of preventing infection in at least some circumstances."

Condoms Essential Component of Anti-AIDS Strategy, SACC Warns

The General Secretary of the SACC expressed shock and dismay over continuing assertions that condoms "don't work" as a means of preventing HIV transmission. He said that the scientific evidence showed clearly that condoms block the virus when properly used. He attacked the resurgent moral conservatism being fueled by the US President's war on condoms and applauded the South African government for its continuing commitment to condom distribution.

Interfaith Relief Commission Established

Leaders of South Africa's main faith communities -- Christian, Muslim, Hindu, Jewish and Buddhist -- met in Johannesburg on 6 January to form a joint Interfaith Disaster and Humanitarian Relief Commission. The new body is to be a permanent forum that will not only respond to natural disasters, but also health concerns, such as the HIV/AIDS pandemic and malaria, and African debt.


*** 2004 ***

Church Leaders Respond to Indian Ocean Tsunami

SACC President Prof Russel Botman and other church leaders responded to the "seaquake" and resulting tsunami that caused untold suffering in many countries bordering on the Indian Ocean. They announced the creation of a special relief fund and called on churches to take up special offerings to assist the survivors of the disaster.

SACC Christmas Letter Calls for Love, Respect and Dignity for All

In his Christmas message to all South Africans, the General Secretary of the SACC writes: "Poverty, in a world that currently produces a surplus of goods, is an affront to all that God intends for humanity." He reiterates the Churches' call for the introduction of a Basic Income Grant as a small, practical step toward making love, respect and dignity a tangible reality for the poorest in South Africa.

Challenge Magazine Publishes Beyers Naudé Memorial Souvenir

To celebrate the life and work of Dr. Beyers "Oom Bey" Naudé, the former SACC General Secretary who passed away in September, Challenge Magazine and the SACC Communications Unit have published a 16-page "memorial souvenir" entitled "Beyers Naudé: A Man of Faith". 

SACC Urges Caution in Wake of Marriage Ruling

Following the Supreme Court of Appeals' 30 November ruling that the common law definition of marriage must be developed to include same-sex couples, the General Secretary encouraged churches to respond to the action thoughtfully and with respect for the Constitution. He proposed separating the legal and religious aspects of marriage and called on churches to assist the Law Commission in developing new legislation that respects both the Constituion's equality clause and the varied and deeply-held religious beliefs of South Africans.

Statement on Archbishop Tutu's Nelson Mandela Lecture

Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu's Nelson Mandela Lecture in Johannesburg on 23 November touched off a vigourous public debate on matters such as black economic empowerment, the basic income grant, and HIV/AIDS policy. The SACC welcomes that debate as a sign of a healthy democracy, but urges participants, including the media, to "resist the temptation to highlight and sensationalise personal differences."

Transcending Racism Report Finds Both Hurt and Hope

The SACC's Transcending Racism programme, revived in November 2003, surveyed church leaders and congregations earlier this year to assess progress in dealing with racism and exploitation in church and community. The survey's findings provide the basis for a number of recommendations to the SACC National Executive and the Church Leaders Forum intended to help facilitate the process of social transformation.

South African Accompaniers Share Apartheid Experiences

Six South African participants in the WCC's Ecumenical Accompaniment Programme in Palestine and Israel identified some of the lessons learned from the struggle against apartheid that might assist Palestinians struggling to liberate themselves from the Israeli Occupation.

SACC Pays Tribute to Struggle Hero Ray Alexander

The General Secretary paid tribute to the late Ray Alexander, calling her "a champion for the cause of the worker and the poor as well as a pioneer in the struggle for women's rights in South Africa".

Hamba Kahle, Dr. Beyers Naudé

The South African Council of Churches and the ecumenical movement mourn the passing of Rev. Dr. Beyers Naudé, who died on 7 September 2004. Funeral services will be held at 14h00 on 18 September at the Dutch Reformed Church (Aasvoelkop), Lawley Avenue, Northcliff, Johannesburg.

[funeral arrangements] [obituary] [tribute] [more]


Triennial National Conference Adopts Resolutions on Variety of Topics

The 2004 Triennial National Conference of the SACC met at the Cedar Park Conference Centre in Johannesburg from 11 to 14 July. Delegates from the SACC's 26 member denominations, 9 provincial councils and affiliated organisations adopted 21 resolutions on topics related to regional issues, economic and social justice, theological education, family life, and a variety of other matters.

First Group of South African Accompaniers Joins EAPPI

The first group of four ecumenical accompaniers from South Africa join a team of thirteen people from Norway, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom to work with churches, community groups and non-governmental oragnisations in Palestine and Israel. The Ecumenical Accompaniment Programme in Palestine and Israel (EAPPI) is modeled on the Ecumenical Monitoring Programme in South Africa, which operated from 1990 to 1994.

FOOD IS LIFE! Statement of an SACC Consultation on GMOs

The SACC held an ecumenical consultation on genetically modified organisms in Midrand at the end of May. The delegates' final statement affirms the right of access to food, condemns the delinking of science and ethics, and calls for action by churches and government to identify sustainable and responsible mechanisms to enhance food security.

Bishop Mpumlwana Delivers Homily at SACC World Cup Prayer Service

Bishop Malusi Mpumlwana, Bishop of the Northern Diocese of the Ethiopian Episcopal Church, delivered the homily at a prayer service on the eve of FIFA's announcement of the country chosen to host the 2010 football World Cup. He gave thanks for the unifying effect of South Africa's bid and called for "good stewardship of the opportunities that the success of our bid will bring".

SACC Supports South Africa's 2010 World Cup Bid

SACC General Secretary Dr. Molefe Tsele says that the Council backs South Africa's bid to host the 2010 football World Cup, in part because of the expected job creation and other economic benefits that will directly affect poor households in South Africa. He announced that the Council would hold a prayer service in advance of the announcement of the winning bid, due on 15 May.

SACC to Join Ecumenical Accompaniment Programme in Palestine and Israel

With the backing of the Christian Council of Sweden, the South African Council of Churches will send ten "Ecumenical Accompaniers" to Palestine and Israel later this year to take part in a World Council of Churches programme intended to promote respect for human rights, express solidarity with Palestinian and Israeli peace activists and show that non-violence can promote justice, peace and an end to the illegal occupation of Palestine. Volunteers are invited to contact the Rev. Canon Luke Pato, head of the SACC's Reconciliation and Healing programme.

SACC Celebrates Peaceful, Transparent Elections

The South African Council of Churches says that the fair and peaceful elections are "an appropriate present as our nation celebrates the Decade of Freedom and Democracy". The Council commended civil society observers, the Independent Electoral Commission, security forces, the media and voters for their contribution to the success of South Africa's third democratic election. Noting the possible need for peace-building following the election, church leaders offered to assist in mediating any disputes that might arise from the election.

Civil Society Observers Say Election "Free and Fair"

The South African Civil Society Observation Coalition (SACSOC), an initiative co-ordinated by the SACC and other civil society organisations, pronounced South Africa's third democratic election "free and fair". The Coalition deployed observers in all nine provinces, including 1 800 volunteers in KwaZulu-Natal. Although obesrevers experienced difficulty in gaining access to polling stations in certain areas, these obstacles were overcome. SACSOC commended the preparedness and efficiency of the IEC, but said that there was room for improvement in the training of electoral officers at the polling stations.

SACC Asks President Mbeki to Spark Zimbabwe Talks

The South African Council of Churches has written an urgent letter to President Thabo Mbeki asking him to send a delegation to Harare to revive talks between the Government of Zimbabwe and the Movement for Democratic Change. The General Secretary of the SACC said that the Church in Zimbabwe is "counting on us to assist them in finding a resolution to their acute economic and political crisis". 

Ecumenical Movement Mourns the Death of Archbishop Denis Hurley

Ecumenical leaders, including former SACC General Secretary Frank Chikane, have paid tribute to the late Archbishop Denis Hurley, who died on 13 February, aged 88. In a memorial service at Khotso House, Archbishop Hurley was remembered as a tireless advocate for social and economic justice, a courageous opponent of apartheid, and a man of humility. The Archbishop's body will lie in state at Emmanuel Cathedral on 26 and 27 February, before the funeral, to be held at Durban's ABSA Stadium on Saturday, 28 February.

Civil Society Organisations Object to GM Wheat Imports

The SACC and 38 other civil society organisations have written to South Africa's Registrar of Genetically Modified Organisms to express their joint opposition to the granting of permission to the US chemical firm, Monsanto, to import genetically modified wheat into South Africa. The letter raised concerns about the uncertain human and environmental impact of the modified wheat and warned that South Africa must not become a gateway for dumping GM crops throughout the continent.

Churches Commend Proposed Social Assistance Regulations

In a letter to the Director-General of the Department of Social Development, the Director of the SACC Parliamentary Office, the Rev. Keith Vermeulen, welcomed proposed amendments to regulations published in terms of the Social Assistance Act that would improve access to social grants, especially the Child Support Grant. The proposed changes would make forms of identification other than a birth certificate or a bar-coded ID document acceptable as interim proof of a child's eligibility for a grant.

SACC Calls for Peaceful and Fair Election

The General Secretary applauded President Mbeki's announcement of the April 14 date for South Africa's third democratic national elections and called on all political parties to ensure that the poll is peaceful and fair. He announced that the SACC would work with other non-partisan civil society organisations to observe the elections through the South African Civil Society Observation Coalition and offered the Council's support to the Independent Electoral Commission.

SACC Commends President Mbeki's Call to Celebrate Progress to National Unity

The SACC welcomed President Mbeki's State of the Nation address at the Opening of Parliament and applauded the government's continuing commitment to a "people-centred society". The General Secretary said that churches have a role in realising that vision and, in particular, in working with government to promote poverty eradication.

Hefer Report a Landmark for Democracy

The SACC has welcomed the release of the Hefer commission report on its inquiry into apartheid-era spying allegations against National Director of Public Prosecutions Bulelani Ngcuka. The General Secretary, Dr. Tsele, hailed the process as a sign of the strength and maturity of South Africa's democracy and urged further follow-up to address concerns raised in the report.

*** 2003 ***

Reconsider N2 Toll Road, Says SACC

The SACC has appealed to the Minister of Environmental Affairs and Tourism to withdraw approval for the construction of a controversial toll road through the Eastern Cape's Wild Coast to permit broader discussion of the plan.

[more]

SACC Responds to Law Commission Discussion Paper on Domestic Partnerships

The SACC articulates a preliminary response to the South African Law Reform Commission's long-awaited proposals to harmonise marriage laws with the Constitution.

[more]

World AIDS Day Message

In a message issued to coincide with World AIDS Day, the SACC urges cooperation between government and faith communities to accelerate the delivery of life-giving anti-retroviral medications to people living with HIV/AIDS.

Churches Call for Simpler PBO Tax System

The SACC has asked the Portfolio Committee on Finance to facilitate compliance with the new tax laws for Public Benefit Organisations by creating a simpler system of registration for small PBOs. The Council also asked for relaxation of the limits imposed on trading by PBOs.

SACC Condemns eMsinga Truck Massacre

In the wake of a truck accident that claimed 15 lives in KwaZulu-Natal, SACC General Secretary Dr. Molefe Tsele extended condolences to the families of the victims and called on government to improve road safety and eliminate the need for pensioners to travel long distances to collect their pension payments.

Defence Ministry Fuels Stigma

The SACC urges the Minister of Defence to rethink his recent announcement that people living with HIV/AIDS will no longer be accepted into the Defence Force. "It is immoral to consider a person living with HIV/AIDS as unfit for service within the Defence Force," said the SACC's HIV/AIDS Programme Director, Fr. Gary Thompson.

Social Protection Policy Must Shape Legislative Agenda

The SACC calls for deferment of action on the Social Assistance Bill until an overarching policy framework can be developed to guide new legislative initiatives. The Council noted that key aspects of the proposed Bill were inconsistent with the priorities articulated in the 1997 White Paper on Social Welfare.

Churches Urge Government to Let Prisoners, Citizens Abroad Vote

In comments on the Electoral Laws Amendment Bill, the Council expressed concern about plans to disenfranchise all convicted prisoners and South African citizens resident abroad.

Gambling Policy Must Protect Communities, Strengthen Participation

The SACC urged lawmakers to adopt national gambling legislation that includes stronger measures to promote social responsibility in the industry, to protect vulnerable communities, and to enhance community participation in decisions about the situation of casinos other licensed gambling premises.

SACC Asks Parliament to Make 18 the Age of Consent

In a parliamentary submission on the Sexual Offenses Bill, the Council supports a uniform age of consent, but asks that this be set at 18. The SACC also raised concerns about plans to expand the definition of rape to include otherwise consensual acts where one partner conceals his or her HIV status.

SACC Urges Churches to Participate in Domestic Partnership Debate

In a letter to all SACC members, the General Secretary welcomed the publication of the SA Law Reform Commission's Discussion Paper on Domestic Partnerships and urged the Council's members to take part in the consultative process devised by the Commission to solicit public opinion on its proposals.

SACC Media Release on the UDF and Dr Allan Boesak

The SACC extends congratulations to the United Democratic Front on the occasion of its 20th anniversary and expresses sadness about Dr Allan Boesak's failure to take part in the anniversary celebrations.

A Sportsman Sails His Way Home

The General Secretary expresses shock and sadness over the tragic and untimely death of Orlando Pirates and Bafana Bafana striker Lesley Manyathela.

Churches Unite Against Poverty

The SACC Central Committee held its annual meeting in Johannesburg 11-12 August 2003 under the theme "Churches Unite Against Poverty". Delegates from the SACC's 24 member churches adopted resolutions on a wide range of issues, including poverty and social security, HIV/AIDS, Zimbabwe, sexual violence, criminal justice, reparations, engagement with the Afrikaner community, the 2004 general election, and South Africa's first decade of democracy.

SACC Wishes Former President Mandela a Happy 85th Birthday

The General Secretary extended birthday greetings to Nelson Mandela on the occasion of his 85th birthday. "You continue to teach us to be able to live with difference and to accept diversity and otherness. As the community of believers, we are indebted to you," said Dr. Tsele.

Joint SACC/Umsobomvu Youth Fund Media Statement

The SACC and the Umsobomvu Youth Fund announce a joint one-year training programme to provide more than 500 unemployed graduates around the country with training and skills development programmes designed to enhance their marketability.

SACC Condemns "Necklace" Killings

In the wake of the horrifying "necklace" murders of two suspected criminals, the SACC calls on communities to work with the police to apprehend criminals and pledges to send delegation to Braamfischerville to meet with community leaders.

SACC Statement on Sam Ramsamy

The SACC expresses concern about alleged corruption within the National Olympic Committee of South Africa (NOCSA) and calls for a comprehensive investigation of the sports body and its President, Mr Sam Ramsamy.

Property Rates Must Facilitate Redistribution and Social Delivery Says SACC

In a Parliamentary submission on the Property Rates Bill, the South African Council of Churches has called for property rates to enhance economic justice and to create a favourable environment for all public benefit organisations. The Council also called for a continuation of the existing rates exemption for places of public worship.

SACC Responds to President Mbeki's TRC Speech

The SACC responded to President Mbeki's 15 April Speech in Parliament on the final report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. The General Secretary welcomed the government's prompt response but said that the TRC's "closed list" policy threatened to stifle the stories of many victims of apartheid who felt unable to appear before the Commission.

Church Leaders' Resolution on HIV/AIDS

The SACC brought Church leaders together on 11 April at the Nelson Mandela Foundation to discuss the impact of the HIV/AIDS epidemic on children. The participants confessed that the Church has not done enough to stop new infection and called for national and local action to "avert national calamity among our young people".

National Conference on Multinational Reparations

The SACC announced on 10 April that it would work with other popular organisations to convene a national reparations conference to build a coherent strategy for addressing apartheid reparations from domestic and foreign banks and multinationals.

WEC Applaud Extension of UIF Benefits to Domestic Workers

The SACC's Women's Ecumenical Conference (WEC) congratulated the government on the recent extension of Unemployment Insurance benefits to domestic and seasonal workers and called on all employers to comply with minimum wage rulings and unemployment insurance legislation.

Statement of the WCC/AACC Pan-African Ecumenical Consultation on NEPAD

Ecumenical representatives of 24 African nations gathered at the Eskom Conference Centre in Johannesburg 23-26 March 2003 to discuss the New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD) and to develop ways of increasing public awareness of the plan, enhancing popular involvement in its implementation and enriching its spiritual and cultural dimensions.

SACC General Says a General Amnesty for Apartheid-Era Human Rights Violations is "Not the Moral Option"

In an article for the 23 March 2003 Sunday Times, Dr. Tsele suggests that a general amnesty on human rights violations would be "a fatal moral misdemeanor" for political expediency.

Churches Say War Will Not Bring Justice to Iraq

In a statement released shortly after the United States and the United Kingdom commenced the bombardment of Baghdad on 20 March, the South African Council of Churches sharply criticised the attacks, warning that "War holds out little hope for a just and lasting peace in the Middle East." The SACC said that the United Nations was "part of the solution, not part of the problem" and called for the international body to be allowed to play a central role in resolving the crisis.

SACC General Secretary Commends Conviction of Racist Attackers

The General Secretary welcomed the conviction of two officers for setting their dogs on Mozambican immigrants, ostensibly as part of a "training exercise". "We are watching with interest if the sentence on them will match their heinous crime," Dr. Tsele said.

SACC General Secretary Condemns Racist Farm Murder

Dr. Tsele condemned the apparently racially-motivated murder of a farm worker in Mpumalanga province last week. "It is unfortunate that acts of racism still dominate our national life," the General Secretary said. He also raised concerns over suggestions that the police may have helped to conceal evidence.

SACC Signs Anti-War Declaration

The SACC has joined dozens of religious, peace, political, cultural and business organisations in demanding a peaceful resolution of the current dispute between the United States and Iraq. The declaration warns that "war against Iraq is wrong ... because it is the poor who will be its main victims."

SACC Endorses TAC Call for National Treatment Plan

At a press conference in Cape Town on the eve of the State Opening of Parliament, the SACC joined with other religious bodies in endorsing the Treatment Action Campaign's call on the government to sign the framework for a National HIV/AIDS Treatment and Prevention Plan, negotiated at the National Economic Development and Labour Council (NEDLAC).

*** 2002 ***

Implement TRC Reparations Recommendations, SACC Tells Government

The SACC says that legal challenges to the final sections of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission report should not become an excuse to delay the payment of reparations. The SACC offers to assist the government in locating those eligible for reparations and in monitoring the distribution of benefits.

TRC Consultation Resolution

At a consultation on the final report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, convened by the SACC at end of November, participants called on the government to implement the TRC's recommendations without further delay and urged member churches and provincial councils to facilitate reconciliation, healing, and the payment of reparations.

Church Leaders' Forum Discuss Bombings

The Church Leaders' Forum met in Johannesburg on 29 November 2002 to discuss the recent spate of bombings. They expressed solidarity with Muslim sisters and brothers, called on all political parties to support the government's efforts to address the right-wing threat, and announced an interfaith march of solidarity to take place on 15 December.

SACC Condemns Gauteng Bombs

The General Secretary condemned the "barbaric" bombings in Soweto and Bronkhorstspruit on 30 October, extended the Council's sympathies to the family of the late Mamatsieng Mokone, and pledged continued cooperation with the Muslim and Buddhist communities.

SACC Mourns the Death of Mary Mxadana

The SACC mourns the 10 October death of Mary Mxadana, a former senior employee of the South African Council of Churches, personal assistant to President Nelson Mandela and a leading member of Soweto's Imilonji kaNtu Choral Society.

SACC National Executive Acts on a Range of Issues

The SACC National Executive Committee met at Kempton Park Conference Centre in Bonaero Park, 2-3 October 2002, to take action on a range of issues including Zimbabwe, the National Lottery, Reconciliation, the Basic Income Grant and Iraq.

SACC NEC Statement on HIV/AIDS

The SACC National Executive Committee called on churches to be "Christlike" in responding to those infected and affected by the virus, to explore practical ways to demonstrate God's love and compassion through programmes of care, testing and counseling and to address the issue of stigmatisation as a matter of urgency.

SACC National Executive Calls for BIG Christmas Campaign

The SACC National Executive Committee reaffirmed the SACC's support for the introduction of a universal Basic Income Grant to help combat poverty and food insecurity and voted to make the Grant the focus of the Council's annual Christmas public awareness campaign.

SACC Salutes Steve Biko

On the 25th anniversary of Steve Biko's assassination, the SACC remembers and celebrates the life of a leader with an "insatiable quest" for liberation who inspired a generation of church leaders "to look afresh at the Bible".

SACC Statement on Iraq and 11 September

The SACC joins with the World Council of Churches, the Archbishop of Canterbury-designate, Pax Christi, and people of faith around the world in expressing concern about the United States' menacing attitude toward Iraq and calling on the superpower to use diplomatic channels to address its concerns.

SACC Leaders Visit SANDF Peacekeeping Troops in Burundi

A delegation of clergy from SACC member churches made a pastoral visit to South African troops on a peacekeeping assignment in Burundi. The visit also provided an opportunity for interaction between the SACC and the National Council of Churches in Burundi.

General Secretary Meets Swedish Official to Discuss Arms Deal

During the World Summit on Sustainable Development, the SACC General Secretary met with the Senior Policy Advisor to the Prime Minister of Sweden to discuss South Africa's option to purchase 19 more Saab jet fighters. The following day, an open letter to the people of Sweden, signed by the heads of the SACC, COSATU and SANGOCO, was published in the Swedish press.

Dr Boesak Tells WSSD Delegates: "A Voice is Needed!"

Preaching at an ecumenical service in Alexandra organised by the World Council of Churches and the SACC to mark the opening of the World Summit on Sustainable Development, the Reverend Dr. Allan Boesak tells worshippers: "We are here at this world summit to be heard, to speak, boldly and unhesitatingly, for the sake of justice, truth and the survival of humanity." Read his full sermon.

SACC and SANDF Chaplains Commit to Working Together

In an historic meeting, the SACC agreed to work together with the SANDF chaplains' service to minister to members of the armed forces. The first opportunity for cooperation will come at the beginning of September when senior church leaders will visit South African peace-keeping forces deployed in Burundi.

World Summit on Sustainable Development

The World Summit on Sustainable Development takes place in Johannesburg, 19 August to 4 September 2002. Churches and religious organisations, including the SACC, have organised a number of parallel events to highlight the need for a just, people-centred and environmentally-responsible global development path. See a listing of events, day-by-day.

Advocate McCaps Motimele's Resignation as Chair of the UNISA Council

The SACC General Secretary comments on the 14 August resignation of UNISA Council Chair McCaps Motimele.

SACC Responds to Snow Emergency in Eastern Cape

Unprecedented snowfalls have paralysed a number of communities in the Eastern Cape, burying houses and exposing families to extreme cold. The SACC has responded by delivering blankets to the area and has called on member churches in the affected areas to "open their hearts" to those in need.

SACC Statement on the SA Municipal Workers' Union Strike

The SACC deplores the vandalism associated with the current strike and calls on Salga to respond "humanely and in a just manner" to workers' wage demands.

SACC Statement on Environmental Justice

At its meeting of 4 July 2002, the SACC Central Committee called on the world to "live in harmony with nature and each other".

NEC Releases Discussion Document on NEPAD

At its meeting of 5 June, the SACC National Executive Committee received a document entitled Un-blurring the Vision, and commended it to members for discussion and study.

Gauteng Liquor Bill Ignores Church Views

The SACC National Executive Committee has expressed anger about the insensitive manner in which the Gauteng provincial government has pressed ahead with plans to legalise Sunday liquor sales. At a 6 June press conference, SACC General Secretary Dr. Molefe Tsele condemned the decision as "arrogant" and "hurtful".

SACC General Secretary Condemns Student Violence

In a 28 May statement, SACC General Secretary Dr. Molefe Tsele recent vandalism by students at the University of the North and in Johannesburg.

SACC Hails Lesotho Poll

The SACC congratulated the people of Lesotho on the successful completion of their general election.

Church Agencies Say HIV/AIDS Stigma Is "Un-Christian"

SACC Programme Director for Health, Fr. Gary Thompson, tells South Africans: "Do not stigmatise people living with HIV/AIDS. It is wrong to do so; it is un-Christian and another form of injustice." The SACC will team up with Church World Service to convey this message of hope at a musical concert at Soweto's Regina Mundi Catholic Church at 3:00 pm on Sunday, 12 May 2002.

SACC Media Statement on the Death of Shirley Sebenya

The SACC deplores the murder of Shirley Sebenya, wife of Ebenezer Evangelical Church minister Rev. Itumeleng Sebenya, on 21 April 2002 during a brutal hijacking. The SACC General Secretary, Dr. Molefe Tsele, reiterated the Council's support for the Moral Regeneration Movement launched last week and expressed the hope that the Movement will become a "beacon of hope" to all who confront such incidents of brutality on a daily basis.

SACC Consultation Calls on All Stakeholders to Join Hands in the Fight Against AIDS

SACC Communications Head Joe Mdhlela reports on the outcome of the SACC's 8-10 April 2002 consultation on HIV/AIDS.

SACC Disturbed by New Arms Purchases

The SACC responds to the South African government's decision to take up the second tranche of the strategic defence procurement deal signed in 1999.

SACC Media Release on Zimbabwe, NEPAD, AIDS

A 3 April 2002 media release from the SACC addresses a range of topics including the Zimbabwean elections, the Inter-Congolese Dialogue, the New Partnership for African Development (NEPAD), and recent developments on HIV/AIDS.

Zimbabwe Presidential Election Observers' Reports

Read the report of the team of international ecumenical peace observers from the World Council of Churches and the All Africa Conference of Churches invited to assist the Zimbabwe Council of Churches in observing the Zimbabwe Presidential Elections, 9-10 March 2002. Read also the report of the multi-sectoral South African Observer Mission appointed by President Mbeki. Both teams included representatives of the South African Council of Churches.

SACC Response to the 2002/2003 National Budget

Statement analysing the impact of the 2002/2003 national budget, issued by the SACC at the end of a Budget Week workshop in Cape Town, 18-22 February 2002, sponsored by the Ecumenical Service for Socio-Economic Transformation.

*** 2001 ***

SACC and NLC Convene a National Land Indaba

The South African Council of Churches and the National Land Committee held a national consultation on land reform in Kempton Park, 7-9 December 2001. The indaba adopted a final statement calling for land expropriation, restrictions on land ownership and other measures to promote just and equitable access to land.

SACC Calls for Action on Mother-to-Child Transmission of HIV

The SACC signals its support for the objectives of the Treatment Action Campaign's law suit against the government and calls for calls for South Africans to "rediscover common ground" in the battle against AIDS.

GS Calls the Church to be a 'Nuisance'

The SACC General Secretary told a Diakonia Council of Churches Breakfast Briefing in Durban on 30 October 2001 that "the Church must once again become a 'nuisance' to the nation".

SACC Meets Minister of Defence

The SACC National Executive Committee and other church leaders met with the Minister of Defence on 26 October to discuss concerns about the strategic defence acquisition programme.

NEC Response to Events of 11 September

The SACC National Executive Committee adopted a statement calling for justice in the wake of the 11 September tragedies in the United States.

Towards an Agenda for New Patriotism and Responsible Citizenship

The SACC General Secretary delivered the opening address to the National Waste Summit in Pietersburg, Northern Province on 25 September 2001. The Summit was convened to discuss plans to implement the government's March 2000 White Paper on an Integrated Pollution and Waste Management Strategy for South Africa. In his address, "Towards an Agenda for New Patriotism and Responsible Citizenship", Dr. Tsele called on South Africans to "recapture the Green Agenda and realign it with Brown issues of landlessness, poverty, migration and underdevelopment.

Triennial Conference

The SACC Triennial Conference was held on August 14-17 at the Liban Conference Centre, Woodmead, Johannesburg (corner of Western Service and Mount Lebanon Roads). The General Secretary of the World Council of Churches, Rev. Dr. Konrad Raiser was the guest of honour.

Statement on Bredell Evictions

Statement of Bishop Mvume Dandala, President of the SACC on behalf of the SACC National Executive Committee on the Bredell Evictions of 12 July, 2001.

International Conference on Racism

Bishop Mvume Dandala, SACC President and Dr. Molefe will lead the SACC delegation to the World Conference Against Racism on August 31 to Spetember 7, 2001.


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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