*** 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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
I Would Rather Be a Hungry Dog That Runs Free ...
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
2009 Central Committee Communique
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
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
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
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?
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
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
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
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
SACC Warns of Challenges Ahead
Council officials comment on the electoral and economic challenges that confront South Africa in the coming months.
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
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!
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
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
African Child Rights Advocates Urge Corporal Punishment Ban
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
SACC Apologises for Attacks on Foreign Nationals
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
Justice in Post-Apartheid South Africa
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
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!
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
Accompanier Scott Smith reports on the intentional obstruction of
transportation routes around Azzun and the impact it has on the lives
Council to Honour Chikane and Other Ecumenical "Heroes"
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
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
Churches Call for Action to Prevent HIV Transmission
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
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
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
The Message to the ANC, its Leadership & Delegates
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
New SACC Executive Slates "Politics of Disgrace"
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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'?
Accompanier Kimendhri Pillay talks examines the conditions in which
most Palestinian children live in light of United Nations' resolutions
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
Civil Society HIV/AIDS Congress Statement and Resolutions
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
Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu Celebrates his 75th Birthday
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
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
Civil Society Coalition Releases Discussion Documents for HIV/AIDS Congress
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
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
Churches applaud South Africa's Security Council Seat
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
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
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
SACC, UUCSA Issue Joint Call for Respect and Tolerance
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
SACC Calls for Justice for the "Cuban Five" and All Political Prisoners
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
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
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
Vlok's Act of Contrition Welcome, But Insufficient
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
SACC Executive Discusses National and Regional Issues
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
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
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
Justice for the Rich; Nothing for the Poor
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
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
SACC Mourns Death of Bishop Harold Ben Senatle
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
SACC Appoints New General Secretary
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
SACC Mourns the Passing of Mr. Richard Khanyi
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
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
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
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
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
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
General Secretary's Contract Coming to an End
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
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
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
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
Occupation and the Oppression of Identity in Palestine
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
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
SACC Executive Discusses Social and Political Concerns
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
Church Leaders to Bless Zim Relief
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
"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.
Queenspark Visit Marks Start of Global Week of Action on Trade
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.
Statements on the Zimbabwe Elections
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.
South African Churches Celebrate the Life of Pope John Paul II
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
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
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
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!
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
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
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
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"
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
SACC Says Condoms Not an Inferior Weapon in the Fight Against HIV and AIDS
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
SACC Pays Tribute to Struggle Hero Ray Alexander
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
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.
Triennial National Conference Adopts Resolutions on Variety of Topics
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
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
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
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
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
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
SACC Celebrates Peaceful, Transparent Elections
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"
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
SACC Asks President Mbeki to Spark Zimbabwe Talks
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
SACC Responds to Law Commission Discussion Paper on Domestic Partnerships
SACC articulates a preliminary response to the South African Law Reform
Commission's long-awaited proposals to harmonise marriage laws with the
World AIDS Day Message
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
Churches Call for Simpler PBO Tax System
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
General Secretary expresses shock and sadness over the tragic and
untimely death of Orlando Pirates and Bafana Bafana striker Lesley
Churches Unite Against Poverty
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
Church Leaders' Resolution on HIV/AIDS
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
*** 2002 ***
Implement TRC Reparations Recommendations, SACC Tells Government
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
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
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
SACC Condemns Gauteng Bombs
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
Dr Boesak Tells WSSD Delegates: "A Voice is Needed!"
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
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
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
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
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
SACC deplores the vandalism associated with the current strike and
calls on Salga to respond "humanely and in a just manner" to workers'
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
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
a 28 May statement, SACC General Secretary Dr. Molefe Tsele recent
vandalism by students at the University of the North and in
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"
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
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
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
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
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
*** 2001 ***
SACC and NLC Convene a National Land Indaba
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
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'
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
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
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
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.
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
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.