KwaZulu-Natal Church Leaders Group (KZNCLG) 16th April 2019
To All Church Leaders and the Entire People of God
We, the KwaZulu Natal Church Leaders released a Pastoral letter on the 31st of October 2018 at Diakonia in Durban. Therein we lamented the escalation of violence and killings with specific reference to the alleged “politically motivated” killings in the Province of KwaZulu-Natal (KZN).
Now as we celebrate the holiest time in the Christian calendar, we take the opportunity to once again implore the people of our Province to join us in supporting all peace initiatives being made by all sectors of civil society, the churches and those engaged in the ecumenical and interfaith movements. As Easter leads us to the 8th May 2019 general elections, let us exhaust all avenues as we strive to live the principles of tolerance and peace.
We invite all people of goodwill to celebrate principal message given by Jesus after his resurrection: Peace be with you! of Jesus. It is his Resurrection that reinforces the values and fruits of peace: faith, compassion, forgiveness, repentance, gratitude and hope. Jesus himself sums up the message of Easter with these words: “Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you: not as the world gives, do I give to you … (Jn. 14: 27).
With this kind of peace the KZNCLG asks you to give this peace to everyone and to let it go on beyond the National and Provincial elections of the 8th May 2019. We implore the People of God, to “Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace” (Colossians 3:15).
In some of our past elections which we monitored and observed, we noted that the Province was showing signs of political maturity on the part of both the political parties and the electorate. Somehow we have slipped from that commendable tolerance, to the current situation characterized by intra-party scuffles, which so easily degenerate into political violence. Whereas what we need is mutual acceptance built on the “principles of peace” and communal stability. As we walk the “via dolorosa” (the way of the cross) towards the Resurrection we implore all the Churches to pray for peace in our province, our country and indeed all the world.
We share with our Catholic brothers and sisters in their deep pain as they begin this Holy week with the extremely heavy burden of witnessing the destruction by fire of the 850 old Norte Dame Cathedral, a most sacred place of worship in Paris. Let us pray for Pope Francis and the entire Catholic community in France and indeed in the world.
May God Bless our country and us, its people as we celebrate Easter in the hope that God will endow us with wisdom and dedication as we seek to apply the “Principles of peace”, which will hopefully lead us towards a free, fair, credible and integral 2019 General elections on the 8th of May 2018.
KZN Church Leaders Group
Chair: Cardinal Napier.
LAUNCH OF THE CIVIL SOCIETY ELECTION MISSION 2016: KZN
01 July 2016, Diakonia Council of Churches, Durban
We, the organisations of civil society, faith based organisations, social movements and affiliated members to the KZN Civil Society Coalition led by the Kwa-Zulu Natal Christian Council (KZNCC) and Democratic Development Programme (DDP) announce the launch of the 2016 Local Government Election Observer Mission.
Our interventions will focus on the following areas:
1). Pre-election violence monitoring
2). Election observation
We further recognize the importance of these elections and are committed to ensuring free and fair election in the province of KZN.
Community Law and Rural Development Centre (CLRD)
Democracy Development Programme (DDP)
Diakonia Council of Churches (DCofC)
Justice and Peace Marrianhill
Kwa-Zulu Regional Christian Council (KRCC)
Kwa-Zulu Natal Christian Council (KZNCC)
Kwa-Zulu Natal Civil Society Coalition (KZNCSOC)
KZN Community Based Organisations Coalition (COMBOCO)
Mennonite Central Committee (South Africa Office)
Midlands Christian Council (MCC)
Southern Kwa-Zulu Natal Christian Council (SKZNCC)
Tugela-Amajuba-Mzinyathi Christian Council (TAMCC)
The Kwazulu-Natal Christian Council Observer Mission – Mission Leader of the KZNCC Observer Mission
For further information contact: KZNCC CEO Dr Douglas Dziva 0837353003; firstname.lastname@example.org
The SADC Lawyers Association (SADCLA) Preliminary Statement on the Election Observation Mission to
KwaZulu-Natal Province, South Africa
08 May 2014
The SADC Lawyers Association is an independent voluntary association made up of law societies, bar associations and individual lawyers from the 15-member Southern African Development Community (SADC) region. Its vision is to uphold human rights and respect for the rule of law, promote and uphold the independence of the judiciary and promote the protection of fundamental liberties. In that regard, election observation and monitoring is part of the strategy of SADCLA to contribute towards the development of just and democratic societies in the region and the promotion of free, fair and credible elections as conditions for durable peace and sustainable development.
The SADCLA observed the 2014 South African Provincial and National elections with a focus on KwaZulu- Natal, in partnership with the KwaZulu-Natal Christian Council (KZNCC), a provincial fellowship of churches and church-based organisations established in 1996. With SADCLA’s regional legal expertise and KZNCC’s deep understanding of the local context, this mutually supportive partnership provided opportunities for the cross-fertilization of ideas and sharing of experiences, which enhanced the strength of the Election Observation Mission. Each partner will release separate mission statements and reports in line with individual organizational strategic objectives.
The Province of KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) has a long-standing history of politically motivated violence and intolerance. During the late 1980s and early 1990s, thousands of people died, with thousands more injured, rendered homeless or reduced to internal refugees while fleeing their homes as political violence engulfed most of the Province. While there has been a significant downturn in the levels of political violence over the twenty (20) years of democratic rule, the Province is still susceptible to violence as witnessed in the recent murders of community activists and other forms of violence in certain flashpoint areas. It is against this background that the elections were held, and that the SADCLA was motivated to focus its Election Observation Mission to promote free, fair and credible elections as a means of supporting peace processes in the Province. Consistent with this and its strategic objectives, SADCLA expressed its intention to observe the 2014 national and provincial elections to the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC). SADCLA wishes to express its gratitude to the IEC for inviting and welcoming its Election Observation Mission to observe the
national and provincial elections. SADCLA is also indebted to the people of KwaZulu-Natal Province and its partner, the KZNCC, for extending a warm welcome and hospitality to the Election Observation Mission.
The objectives of this Election Observation Mission were to:
- Observe and monitor the general elections in KwaZulu-Natal Province and assess how the national and regional (SADC) standards governing democratic elections were complied with, in order to ensure the achievement of free and fair elections.
- Promote understanding and awareness of the state of democracy, electoral laws and processes, as well as human rights in South Africa, particularly in the KZN Province.
- Promote principles of democratic governance, including free, fair and credible elections as a means to building sustainable peace in KwaZulu-Natal Province.
- Produce a report, which will inform future democratic processes and contribute to the strengthening of peace-building processes in the Province.
The SADCLA drew from its pool of experienced legal practitioners and other seasoned civil society organisations from ten (10) countries in the SADC region. The strong 30 member Observation Mission comprised of observers from the following SADC countries: Botswana, Democratic Republic of the Congo (Congo), Lesotho, Malawi, Swaziland, Zimbabwe, Tanzania, Zambia, Mauritius, and the host country, South Africa. The Observation Mission was deployed in the following areas of KwaZulu-Natal: eThekwini Metropolitan Municipality – Durban; Ugu District Municipality – Port Shepstone and Mdoni; uMgungundlovu District Municipality – Pietermaritzburg; uThekela District Municipality – Ladysmith; Okhahlamba; Zululand District Municipality – Ulundi; uMkhanyakude District Municipality -The Big Five Falsy Bay; iLembe District Municipality – KwaDukuza; and uThungulu District Municipality – Empangeni.
The Mission was led by Boma Ozobia, former president of the Commonwealth Lawyers Association and current partner at the Nigerian law firm Sterling Partnership. She brings a wealth of expertise and experience from other election observation missions in other parts of the African continent.
The Observation Mission employed a multi-pronged information gathering strategy which included review of the constitutional and legal framework governing elections in South Africa, consultative discussions with key stakeholders such as the IEC, political parties, Chapter 9 institutions, particularly the South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC), Civil Society Organisations, other Election Observation Missions, attending campaigns and perusal of the national and local mass media. In addition, prior to deployment, Observers participated in a mandatory briefing session and workshop co-hosted by the SADCLA and the KZNCC. These various methods enabled the Observation Mission to gather comprehensive information and to critically assess the manner in which the 2014 national and provincial elections were managed and conducted.
- Constitutional and Legal Framework
The Mission’s observation process was anchored on the constitution and legal framework governing democratic elections in South Africa as well as various regional and international electoral instruments.
Nationally and provincially, the electoral process in South Africa is governed principally by the following pieces of legislation:
– The Constitution of the Republic of South Africa, 1996,
- Electoral Act 73 of 1998 including Regulations as amended by: Local Government Municipal Electoral Act 27 of 2000; Electoral Laws Amendment Act 34 of 2003; Electoral Laws Second Amendment Act 40 of 2003; General Laws (Loss of Membership of National Assembly, Provincial Legislature or Municipal Council) Amendment Act 55 of 2008; Electoral Amendment Act 18 of 2013.
- The Regulations include: Regulations on the Accreditation of Voter Education Providers, 1998; Voter Registration Regulations, 1998; Regulations on the Accreditation of Observers, 1999; Election Regulations, 2004; Regulations Concerning the Submission of Candidate Lists, 2004
- Public Funding of Represented Political Parties Act, 103 of 1999 and
- Independent Broadcasting Authority Act, 153 of 1993
The SADC Principles and Guidelines Governing Democratic Elections are a notable instrument relevant to the work of the SADCLA Election Observation Mission.
The above constitutional and legislative framework on elections contributes to creating a conducive environment for free, fair and credible elections in the country, while also providing conflict management mechanism for election related conflicts. One of the key dominant characteristics of the political system in South Africa is the adoption of the proportional representation electoral system. Although the system has been criticized for its lack of direct accountability to the electorate, it has also been commended for its inclusive nature which guarantees the participation and representation of minority and disadvantaged groups including women, youth and people with disabilities.
- Preliminary Findings
- Pre-election environment
As SADCLA employed a short-term observation mission and was not on the ground during most part of the pre-election era, it relied on its strategic partner, the KZNCC which had deployed a long-term observation mission in the Province for information. SADCLA also monitored the pre-electoral environment through regular analysis of the news reports from the media. Meetings held with political parties and other stakeholders in the Province during this phase also enabled the SADCLA to gather sufficient information to be able to express an opinion about the pre-electoral environment prevailing in KwaZulu-Natal.
Following announcement by the IEC, voter registration was undertaken in November 2013 and February 2014. The SADCLA notes with satisfaction reports that the number of registered voters has increased in this election, even though it is yet to be determined how many of those actually turned up at the polls. SADCLA also notes with satisfaction the manner in which the IEC managed the voter registration process in the Province. Political parties consulted by the SADCLA also expressed satisfaction with preparation and regular consultations.
- Special Vote
The special vote took place on 5 and 6 May 2014. According to reports, there were some glitches in some parts of the province with special voters not turning up to vote or IEC officials delaying to visit the special voters. However, the SADCLA noted the IEC’s commitment to ensuring that all those requiring assistance to vote in their homes would be
visited, however late. In addition, the SADCLA observers noted that the IEC went as far as calling voters on their phones to encourage them to come to the voting stations to cast their votes. SADCLA however also noted with concern that in other areas of the Province observed, there seemed to be a low turn-out of special voters. For example, in one polling station in the KwaMashu area observed by SADCLA, there were 32 special voters registered, however by closing of the polling station, only 13 people had voted.
- Civic and Voter education
SADCLA noted with satisfaction the various voter education and information programmes undertaken throughout the Province in order to enhance participation and encourage voters to make informed choices. SADCLA commends the IEC and local Civil Society Organisations for the extensive coverage of voter education activities. SADCLA also wishes to encourage the provincial IEC and other provincial stakeholders to continue looking for creative means of disseminating information, especially in remote areas where there is no electricity to mount posters such as the villages around the Emthunzini area.
The SADCLA notes with concern the apparent political intolerance among some members of various political parties in the Province, which has contributed to politically motivated violence in some areas. While, for the most part campaigning has been peaceful, the continued intimidation of political opponents remains a cause for concern. Intimidation goes against the letter and spirit of the electoral code of conduct that political parties signed and committed to upholding during the elections.
- Media coverage
The SADCLA notes with satisfaction the broad media coverage that political parties enjoyed through the South African Broadcasting Cooperation (SABC). SADCLA noted various election related-programmes and political party debates where parties were provided the opportunity to discuss matters of concern to the voters.
SADCLA has also taken note of the Electoral Court judgment ordering the Democratic Alliance (DA) to retract an earlier sms sent to potential voters regarding President Jacob Zuma’s Nkandla homestead. While SADCLA expresses no opinion on the matter, it wishes to note the maturity of South Africa’s judicial system that enables electoral disputes to be resolved speedily.
The SADCLA has also noted the ruling by the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (ICASA) in favour of the SABC’s ban on an advert by the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF). Again, while the SADCLA doesn’t express any opinion on the matter, it commends the constitutional institutions in the country that are able to respond to electoral conflicts speedily.
- Election Day
The SADCLA Mission observed that the polling day was generally calm and peaceful, with no major incidences of violence and intimidation. Generally, it appeared that the electoral machinery operated efficiently and smoothly. Many SADCLA Observer teams reported that voting in their
respective areas progressed well, although some concerns and inconsistencies were noted. These include, among others, the following:
– Some polling stations opened late. For example the Pumulani polling station delayed opening due to the late arrival of electoral equipment in the form of a scanner. Similarly, electoral officials in the polling stations in KwaDukuza Town Hall and Grootvlei Primary School experienced problems with scanners, which delayed the voting process.
– There seems to be different interpretations of section 24 of the Electoral Act, which requires voters to complete a form, section 24 form, when voting in a different Polling Station from where they are registered. In some Polling Stations, voters were allowed to vote, while in others they were sent to the stations where they were registered. This confusion was observed, among others, in the KwaDukuza Township Hall and the Stanger Correctional Services Voting Stations.
– In some Polling Stations, there were voters who were assisted to cast their votes by people wearing party insignia. For example, in the Merlewood polling station near Port Shepston, elderly voters who were transported into the polling station by ANC supporters, were assisted to vote inside the polling booths by ANC members wearing ANC regalia. While the law allows assistance by any person of the voter’s choice, SADCLA notes with concern that this arrangement might compromise the secrecy of the assisted voter’s vote, their rights to a free choice and may possibly lead to intimidation.
– Political intolerance was reported in one area where NFP supporters tried to blockade ANC supporters from entering the eMahlashini School. Members of the Police were called in to intervene and the crowd was dispersed.
– A ballot box went missing in the Stanger Correctional Services voting station.
– In the Durban CBD, SADCLA Observers witnessed about 30 ANC supporters singing and dancing in the street close to a polling station. In the Ndwedwe area, Observers also witnessed an event hosted by the ANC very close to the polling station called an inter- cultural festival. There were loud singing and music, which could possibly be heard from inside the polling station.
– There were inconsistencies in attending to the elderly and pregnant women. While in some areas there was adequate assistance, in some Polling Stations no special assistance was provided.
– In the Ndwedwe and other rural villages observed by the SADCLA, no wheelchair facilities were provided. This was different for urban areas where the Polling Stations were wheel chair accessible.
- SADCLA Observers noted with concern that the ballot papers for the visually impaired, written in braille, provided numbers and not names of political parties. This necessitated a visually impaired voter to ask for the name of the party of their choice against the numbers provided on the ballot paper. This had the potential of compromising the secrecy of their vote.
- Gender and Human Rights
The Mission noted with satisfaction the fair representation of women and men in the polling stations visited. In some areas, the Mission noted higher participation of women voters than men. Generally from observation, there seemed to be more representation of women as electoral officials. For example, of the
12 Polling Stations visited in Ethekwini Municipality and surrounding environs by one of the SADCLA teams, 9 of the polling station Presiding Officers were women.
Apart from the above observations, no major human rights concerns have been reported that could negatively impact on the outcome of the election.
- Participation of Youth
The SADCLA wishes to commend the IEC for efforts taken to attract the young first time voters, the so-called “born frees”.
In the KwaMkhulu informal settlement, SADCLA observers noted a high number of youths voting. The same youths were also involved in high intensity campaigning immediately outside the polling station. At the YMCA polling station in the Durban CBD, there were long queues comprising predominantly of young voters, apparently from the nearby universities. The high numbers were attributed to young people voting in the area which they were not initially registered, which necessitated the completion of Section 24 forms to be able to cast their vote.
- Conflict Management
As mentioned in the background of this statement, the Province of KwaZulu-Natal is prone to electoral violence. This election has witnessed its share of politically motivated violence, albeit on a smaller scale as compared to previous elections. This may be attributed, to a certain extent to the conflict management mechanisms put in place by the IEC and the Provincial Government of KwaZulu-Natal. Civil Society Organisations like the KZNCC and its members have also played a critical role in promoting peace and building mechanisms for peace at a community level. Political parties have also taken an active role in promoting messages of peace and calling on their supporters to exercise tolerance and respect.
The SADCLA wishes to commend these efforts, while also encouraging stakeholders to strengthen the conflict management mechanisms to rid the Province of electoral violence completely and to instill a culture of peace among the inhabitants of the Province.
- Areas of Concern
The following is a list of concerns and areas that require improvement:
- Electoral violence: politically motivated violence remains one of the key and primary concerns in KZN Province with the potential to hinder free and fair elections in the Province.
- Political intolerance: Very closely related to the above, the lack of tolerance and respect also constitute one of the major concerns and threats to free and fair elections in the Province.
- Voter education: While the SADCLA notes the high level of voter education in the Province, there are concerns about the possible neglect of faraway rural villages
- SADCLA is also concerned about the different interpretations of section 24 of the Electoral Act by election officials, suggesting a need for further training of electoral officials and voter education.
- High levels of campaigning outside of polling stations: In the KwaMkhulu rural settlement there was high intensity campaigning by four (4) political parties with loud music and singing, a few steps from the polling station. Only two police officials were present, which Observers felt were inadequate in the event that the crowd got out of hand.
- Missing ballot box: Observers noted that there was a missing unused ballot box during observation at the Stanger Correctional Services Voting Station, which electoral officials could not account for.
- Special Vote: While many voters registered, it appears that in some instances, there was a low turn out of special voters
- Continuous voter education is required as well as training for electoral officials.
- Ballot papers for the visually impaired should include the names of political parties instead of the numbers.
- Political parties
Political parties should promote continuous respect and tolerance amongst their members and between members and opponents. Messages of peace should be communicated throughout the years and not just during the pre-election campaign. Peace-building programmes involving local traditional leaders, women’s groups, the youth and all other stakeholders should be enhanced to ensure broad-based support and ownership by all stakeholders.
- Provincial Government of KZN
Support to local peace structures should be enhanced. Each provincial department should appoint a peace agent to ensure that conflict management and peace-building mechanisms form an integral part of government programming.
- Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) in KZN
- CSOs are encouraged to continue to promote peace-building through, among other things, peace education, joint community dialogues and imbizos.
- CSOs should also engage communities in continuous voter education to build a culture or peace and tolerance.
- Chapter 9 institutions – SAHRC
The SAHRC as the body with the broadest human rights mandate in the country should play a more active role during the election period. For example, it could partner with the IEC to address, promote and protect human rights during elections. In addition, it may assist the IEC in dealing with complaints relating to human rights violations during elections.
- Elected National Government
The newly-elected government is encouraged to work closely with the provincial government to create an environment for openness and political tolerance in KZN.
- International Community – UN, AU, SADC
The international community should continue to support electoral processes in South Africa as a contribution to strengthening the consolidation of democracy in this country. One way of doing this is to continue election observation of South African elections to ensure that South Africa continues to improve its election management systems.
The SADCLA will release its final report in June 2014 which will outline in detail its analysis and findings following the 2014 South African Provincial and National elections.
Head of Mission,
A Pastoral Letter on the National and Provincial Elections: 7 May 2014 Greetings to the People of KwaZulu-Natal:
Once again we have arrived at the time when the nation democratically elects both national and provincial leaders. This province has demonstrated discipline, self-control and peacefulness in previous elections – a much appreciated political maturity which we hope to see also in the elections of 7 May.
Call for peace: As we choose our national and provincial leaders, let us all respect our electoral system and processes by voting in a respectful, humble and peaceful manner and let us accept the outcome.
Word of appreciation: We appreciate the effort made and commitment shown as many people registered for these elections and we hope to see the overwhelming majority exercising their democratic right by casting their vote.
Why our votes are important: By voting we exercise our right to elect the leaders of our choice. By voting responsibly we contribute to deciding the type of leaders and governance we will have for the next five years. We therefore encourage all registered citizens in the province to participate in this historic 20th anniversary of our first democratic elections.
Statistics: KwaZulu-Natal has 4 746 voting stations of which 128 have been classified as being in high risk areas where there will be both stationed and roving national and international observers.
Dates: Voting starts at 07h00 and ends at 21h00 on 7 May 2014. Dates for special votes for those who applied to vote early, are 5 and 6 May 2014.
Steps taken by the KZNCC and the KwaZulu Natal Election and Democracy Forum to ensure peaceful elections:
The KZNCC and the KZNDEF organised special peace building workshops in identified hotspots; we are recruiting and deploying 550 domestic observers to selected voting stations; we will be collaborating with 50 international guests in observing the election processes; and we will deploy a number of religious and community leaders as mediators where conflict arises. All involved in these forms of support for peaceful, free and fair elections will be trained on such key aspects of democratic elections as: special votes, polling, the SA electoral laws, the electoral code of conduct, as well as how to observe and report on elections. They will be encouraged to conduct their duties peacefully as they observe the electoral process.
May the Lord’s peace, blessings and guidance be on us all as we make historic decisions at polling stations.
RECEPTION FOR INTERNATIONAL OBSERVERS OF THE KWAZULU-NATAL 2014 ELECTIONS 5 MAY 2014
Address by Dr Douglas Dziva, CEO of the KwaZulu-Natal Christian Council INTRODUCTION:
On behalf of the KwaZulu-Natal Christian Council and the KwaZulu-Natal Democracy Education Forum, I would like to add my words of welcome to those expressed by the by the KZNCC Chairperson , Bishop Michael Vorster.
WELCOME TO THE 40 INTERNATIONAL OBSERVERS:
We are indeed delighted to receive you, a team of 40 international observers from SADC countries to observe the KZN elections on 5, 6 and 7 May. We know that you are a highly skilled group of individuals with much experience in electoral issues and an excellent knowledge of the southern African region. It is appropriate that your group consists of religious leaders, human rights lawyers, and representatives of NGOs dealing with issues of good governance.
Indeed it is a high profile group whose assessment of our elections will enjoy much credibility.
Senior Advocate Boma Azobia, and all members of the international team, you will forgive us for having high expectations of your group.
- We believe that your presence and visibility will be contribute to peaceful, free and fair elections in this Province;
- Your observation of the elections and the statements you will release during and especially after the elections will give the world an objective view of the entire election process;
- The fact that you come from diverse countries and diverse contexts will help to create new networks of people concerned about good governance which will be helpful to South Africa in the future and, we hope, your own countries, and the region.
- We would be grateful if you would be part of a SADC regional database of good governance and human rights activists.
- We are not looking for a rubber stamping of preconceived conclusions, but we urge you to be as open and honest with us as possible about what you see and hear over these next few days that you will be here. What we are looking for is a thorough
assessment of this election processes and election management so that we can learn lessons for the future.
SPECIAL TASK OF THE INTERNATIONAL OBSERVERS:
I’m sure that His Worship the Mayor of the eThekwini Municipality would like you to see as much as possible of the beautiful city of Durban while you are here, but that is not why we invited you!
As you will know, KwaZulu-Natal is infamous for having the worst history of political violence in the whole of South Africa. It is estimated that approximately 20,000 people died as a result of political conflict from the mid 80’s to the present, and that over a quarter of a million people were displaced from their homes. This violence worsened in the last three months before our first democratic elections in 1994, but gradually subsided over the 20 years since then, and has come down drastically since 2012.
In the 1980s and 90s there was terrible political violence, war lords, intimidation,
political killings, and many no-go areas. This has gradually given way to more freedom of choice, movement, speech and association, and much more mutual tolerance among political parties. Indeed people speak about a growth of political maturity in KwaZulu- Natal.
Nevertheless these positive developments are fragile and there continue to be instances of political intimidation, harassment and intolerance. We have identified 10 areas in in the province which we consider as potential high risk areas, and it is to some of these stations that you will be deployed. We believe that your presence will be crucial to helping these potential flash points remain peaceful, and ensuring that their elections will proceed without incident. The police have been informed about your deployment to these stations, and we are requesting them to ensure your safety.
YOUR HOSTS, THE KZNCC AND KZNDEF:
Let me say something about your hosts, the KwaZulu-Natal Christian Council (KZNCC) and the KwaZulu-Natal Democracy Education Forum (KZNDEF).
Established in 1995, KZNCC is a provincial council of churches affiliated to the South African Council of Churches. Its mission is to coordinate, support provincial networks and partnerships of the church and civil society on social justice, governance, reconciliation, health, and the environment issues.
The KZNDEF is a forum of 13 NGOs (including the KZNCC whose turn is hosting the 2014 observer mission) working with the IEC and religious leaders on peacebuilding, the promotion of good governance and democracy deepening in this province of KwaZulu- Natal.
OUR PREPARATIONS FOR THESE ELECTIONS:
In preparing for these elections, despite a limited budget, these two bodies – the KZNCC
and the KZNDEF – have been involved in:
- Mobilizing communities to encourage citizens to get bar-coded identity documents;
- Urging the registered voters to inspect the voters’ roll to ensure its correctness;
- Urging all citizens who qualify, to register to vote.
- Ensuring that the people of KwaZulu-Natal understand democratic and electoral principles before they go to the polls to cast their votes.
And as the elections have come closer, in addition to arranging for the participation of
yourselves as international observers:
- We have organised peace building workshops in identified hot spots;
- We have recruited 550 domestic observers who will be deployed and stationed at selected voting stations;
- We have 10 religious and community leaders ready for deployment as mediators to deal with any conflicts that may arise;
- We have 22 clearly marked cars that will be used by roving observers.
- All those involved in these various forms of electoral support have been trained in the SA electoral laws, the Electoral Code of Conduct, and how to observe and report on elections.
We hope that these steps which we have taken, and your presence with us, will enable us both to articulate whether the elections were peaceful, free, fair and credible in the eyes of the local people and the international community.
Once again, we thank you for coming to our assistance as good neighbours of South Africa, and we hope that you will find your stay with us a very worthwhile experience.
‘Heed the laments of the electorate.’- Bishop Siwa tells new administration
Now that the elections results have been announced, accepted and endorsed, there is every reason to celebrate and look forward to service delivery that transforms communities and improves their quality of life.
“The Methodist Church of Southern Africa (MCSA) commends and congratulates the South African population for demonstrating their commitment to democracy by turning out in their large numbers to cast their vote. It is encouraging to observe the manner in which the public has demonstrated maturity in the way it conducted itself in these elections,” said Bishop Siwa, the President of the SACC and the Presiding Bishop of the MCSA at a Local Preachers Convention in Cape Town.
“Now starts the real test of turning the beautifully worded manifestoes into reality for those who have placed their faith in the parties that won. We trust that promises made by those in government to the electorate will be prioritized and every effort pursued to see to their fulfilment.”
The dignified manner with which all political parties accepted the outcomes and the results is commended. We congratulate the African National Congress for winning five consecutive general elections.
The laments and discontent expressed by the electorate before the elections must be heeded and there must be evident honesty in delivering on promises. We urge all parties represented in Parliament to commit to serving the nation with justice, honesty, truthfulness and humility. May we, the voting public, also desist from the use of violence as a means of expressing our discontent. Rather, let us make use of the correct channels available to those who may feel aggrieved to seek redress and to hold accountable those we have entrusted with our vote.
We commend the Electoral Commission for a sterling job in delivering yet another successful plebiscite endorsed by the observer mission.
President: South African Council of Churches
Presiding Bishop: Methodist Church of Southern Africa
For more Information Contact:
SANIBONANI, MOLWENI, DUMELANG; GOOD DAY OUT THERE:
Today we PRAY FOR THOSE CAMPAIGNING FOR VOTES FOR THEIR PARTIES: “Here there is a clear call for maturity and honesty. Campaigners need to use rational persuasion. ’PLAY THE BALL NOT THE PLAYER.’ THERE CAN BE NO ROOM FOR VIOLENCE OR INTIMIDATION, ESPECIALLY THE KIND THAT MISUSES RELIGIOUS, RACIAL AND TRIBAL FEARS” . 1
The community of Jesus wept at the sight of the violence and destruction of the City of Jerusalem by the Romans in 90 AD. LET US NOT END UP AS A WEEPING COMMUNITY BECAUSE OF THE VIOLENCE AND INTIMIDATION by one political party against another.
Let us pray for peaceful, ethical and free elections.
LET US SOAK OUR NATION WITH PRAYER is the call of the SACC President Bishop Zipho Siwa, let us heed this call.
Have blessed Saturday.
Shalom Bishop Mike. (3/05/2014)
1 (Reference: Charter of Election Ethics produced by the Moral Regeneration Movement of SA (MRMSA)
SANIBONANI, MOLWENI, DUMELANG; GOOD DAY OUT THERE :
Our workers, who contribute HUGELY to our economy and prosperity of our country, are treated like ‘second class citizens; given poor housing; poor wages – when they protest it seems that few, including the church, lack solidarity with their plight. –
Yes, protesting with violence is unacceptable; but this often clouds our judgement. What we don’t see is the invisible indirect violence of those in the upper classes who pay themselves exorbitant salaries and bonuses, whilst their workers live daily in survivalist mode.
May the Lord forgive our complacency?
TODAY WE ALSO PRAY FOR ALL POLITICAL PARTIES, that between them they will alleviate the plight of the working class and unemployed. Which of them will do it best? – PERHAPS IT IS FOR SUCH A POLITICAL PARTY THAT WE SHOULD VOTE ON 7 MAY?
Let us discern our role as churches to be in appropriate solidarity with the working class and unemployed.
LET US SOAK OUR NATION WITH PRAYER is the call of the SACC President Bishop Zipho Siwa, let us heed this call.
Have a wonderful workers day.