PIETERMARITZBURG – Yesterday at 07h00, the KwaZulu Natal Church Leaders Group (KZN-CLG) convened by the KwaZulu Natal Christian Council (KZNCC) held an urgent virtual meeting via Zoom to evaluate the current situation of violence and unrest in various parts of the province and the nation at large.
Led by Cardinal Wilfrid Napier, Chairperson of the KZN-CLG, the leaders note with serious concern the reckless behavior of numerous people who have resorted to violence, looting and damage of property. Such actions have a direct impact on businesses, livelihoods and access to food.
We condemn in the strongest possible terms the acts of burning of businesses as well as burning of informal settlements.
We have noted a typical racial tension where Black Africans have been attacked. We therefore condemn in the strongest possible terms, the attacks against any race.
We condemn in strongest terms threats to attack foreign national or xenophobic attacks
We condemn in the strongest possible the threats to launch inter-racial violence
We call for stability, peace and unity in our province and nation at large.
“We condemn, in the strongest possible terms the violence that has wreaked havoc across our province: destroying property, infrastructure and businesses, intimidating innocent people and causing widespread fear and anxiety. We state that this is totally unacceptable and cannot, under any circumstances be tolerated”, said Cardinal Napier.
Subsequently, the following resolutions were taken:
- That the KZNCLG appreciates that people have different viewpoints and opinions on the socio-political issues of the day, and therefore urgently calls for dialogue and practical interventions from all parties and stakeholders rather than violence.
- That Churches are concerned and anxious about the level of the historical inequality we continue to experience today.
Cardinal Wilfrid Napier and Bishop Myaka went on to emphasise the call to Government to urgently reduce the glaring and immoral chasm between the rich and the people on the margins.
“We urge our political, social and community leaders to call and stand for peace and calmness, so that the issues of the day can be addressed with the participation of leaders from all sectors of society”, said Cardinal Napier.
The group highlighted the key role that the Church has in offering pastoral care, peace monitoring and peace building at this time and urged faith leaders to be visible in offering support wherever it is needed.
They also called on government to find solutions which will meet the needs of the poor and needy, and which will protect communities and businesses from thuggery.
“Government, the Faith and Business sectors and Civil Society together have an urgent role to play in responding to those who are destitute and hungry; a situation which has only been amplified by the Covid-19 pandemic over the past 18 months. Poverty and dire hunger cannot be ignored and must be addressed immediately. Leaving these lived realities unaddressed is not only immoral but will also prepare fertile ground for unrest” declared Bishop Myaka.
Speaking to those calling for and resorting to violence the group of leaders urged them to reconsider their strategy with their resolutions stating, “Let us be clear; it is the poorest and most marginalized in our society – those who have already been hardest hit by the Covid-19 pandemic and its related lockdown restrictions – who will again bear the brunt and feel the real pain of this violent unrest.”
The KwaZulu Natal Church Leaders Group are actively engaging around this issue to ensure peace and calm to be restored. They will be meeting with the KZN Premier this week to engage political leadership so that urgent interventions are taken. They are also engaging with national political and ecumenical leadership to find workable, long-lasting solutions to this crisis. This includes negotiating with government to give Clergy permission to travel for pastoral care during lockdown hours.
Finally, the KZN-CLG made the following urgent calls:
- To all people of faith there is a call to prayer: prayer for peace and stability, for wisdom and courage, for vision and leadership
- To business and the public: we are now hit with a food crisis. Please make any donation you can to the KZNCC for the distribution of food to those left most vulnerable by these riots (bank details below).
- To Church Leaders: please get in contact if you are willing to become peace monitors and be deployed at this critical moment.
“We will continue to journey and support our government through continuous prayers and escalate whatever information that we see beneficial to our people because the churches are speechless at this level of revolting violence. We grieve with all those who grieve and extend our heartfelt condolences to all those who have lost loved ones at this time. Furthermore, we shall do everything possible to protect children, the elderly, the sick and the vulnerable by actions which build faith, hope and love in the world around us” said Bishop Nkosinathi Myaka, KZNCC Chairperson.
Emotions of my soul –
It is this: CRY – the beloved country.
Cry – for broken lives and unmet dreams;
Cry – for silent voices and uncontrolled rage;
Cry – for hearts of greed and empty hands;
Cry – for fists of violence and fear-filled souls;
Cry – for hope filled courage and courage that has lost hope;
And through the fog and my paralysed being –
Through the words of Paton’s title –
There is BUT just one verse that makes its way through:
(Von Elke Kaiser Carrihill)
For Media enquiries contact:
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Bank Details for Food Relief:
Account no: 62601869243
11 April 2020
The Presidency President Cyril Ramaphosa Union Buildings Government Avenue Pretoria Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Copied: Honourable KZN Premier, Sihle Zikalala
Dear Sir, Your Excellency, President Cyril Ramaphosa
KZN Covid-19: Churches Respond – Affirming your Leadership and Pledging Our Support
We are a broad and inclusive coalition of Churches, Christian Associations, Ecumenical Networks and Ministers’ Fraternals committed to using our extensive footprint across the KwaZulu Natal Province to respond more effectively to the Covid-19 pandemic, the Lockdown and their respective impact.
Your Excellency, today, we wish to applaud and affirm your leadership and that of the Minister of Health, Dr Zweli Mkhize in this time of disaster. We further express our appreciation for the work of the KZN Premier, Honourable Sihle Zikalala as well as the MEC for Health, Honourable Nomagugu Simelani-Zulu for meeting and updating Church Leaders on the way forward. We express our full support for your government’s efforts to save lives and in the process “flatten the curve”. We do this even as we stand in solidarity and mourning with the millions around KZN and the country whose very lives are threatened by both the Coronavirus and the extended lockdown.
In particular we affirm the generous and commendable example set by you, your Cabinet and the Premiers, of pledging a third of your salary to the Solidarity Fund. This is a powerful gesture of inestimable symbolic value. We gladly notify you that the Churches across the KwaZulu Natal province, are pledging R1 million to the relief emergency in our province.
As a Church united against the pandemic, we are putting together Emergency Relief that will roll-out cash vouchers to 1000 vulnerable families in each of the 11 Districts over the next three months through our Church-based fundraising efforts.
Other elements of our provincial plan include; (i) Communications, Education and Awareness, (ii) Pastoral care and Support, (iii) Advocacy and support around social and economic vulnerability. All of this is undergirded by an inter-denominal space for prayer and theological reflection. Full details are available on our website www.covid19response.co.za.
As Church Leaders, we continue calling on all churches, Christian Associations and ecumenical organisations and networks in KZN to come on board with specific and practical support for the coordinated work taking place at Ward level through the various Church structures we are setting up.
We further support your call for those who have resources to make a similar contribution urgently. Now is the time for sacrifice, for self-sacrificing generosity, and most importantly for Corporate responsibility, care and solidarity.
We are grateful for the third dimension of your latest strategy to address COVID-19, the programme of increased social support to protect poor and vulnerable households. We need to express our anxiety and concern for the poorest and most vulnerable at this time. May we urge you to expedite that relief through the Solidarity Fund as soon as possible.
We are receiving daily calls from across all 11 Districts from desperate individuals and communities, including some who don’t know where their next meal or rental payment is going to come from; from survivors who remain in abusive homes because they are afraid of starvation; from car guards, refugees and casual workers do not have any income. We endorse your call to support these, the most vulnerable urgently.
As we commemorate the death and celebrate the resurrection of Christ this weekend, we move from grief and lamentation to hope and new life for all humanity. This Crisis reminds us that we hold in tension the fear of death on the cross and the hope of the resurrection to a new life of Christ. At this time, we pray most ardently that he creates for us a new, more just dispensation for all South Africans.
Christ is risen! He is alive! The Resurrection is real!
+ Cardinal Wilfrid Napier, OFM, Chairperson of the KwaZulu Natal Church Leaders Group and Chairperson of the KZN Inter Religious Council.
Dean Nkosinathi Myaka, Chairperson of the KwaZulu Natal Christian Council
Bishop KE Khomo, President Interdenominational African Ministers Association in South Africa (IDAMASA)
Bishop B Mchunu, President Church Leaders Council of South Africa (CLCSA)
Bishop Nathi Zondi, Truevine Family of Churches
Rev Sipho Sokhela, National General Secretary South Africa YMCA.
Daniela Gennrich, Coordinator We Will Speak Out South Africa
Rev Gregory Matthei, Baptist Union of Southern Africa
Rev Janice Nomvuyo Mpuqa, Chairperson of the Thukela, Amajuba & Mzinyathi Christian Council
Bishop BM Buthelezi, Chairperson of the KwaZulu Region Christian Council
Archbishop Sthembiso BB Ngcamu, Chairperson of the Southern KwaZulu Natal Christian Council
Churches across KZN pledge R1 million to KZN relief efforts
A broad and inclusive coalition of Churches, Christian Associations, Ecumenical Networks and Ministers’ Fraternals are together seeking to use their extensive footprint across the KwaZulu Natal Province to respond to the Covid-19 pandemic, the related Lockdown and their impact.
In a letter to the State President this weekend, they applaud his decisive leadership: “We particularly affirm your generous and sacrificial example, as well as that of your Cabinet and the Premiers, by pledging a third of your salary to the Solidarity Fund. This is a powerful gesture and a symbolic message. We hereby notify you that as Churches across the KwaZulu Natal province, we are pledging R1 million to the relief emergency in our province,”
“South Africa is in Lockdown until the end of April in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. This dramatic and yet critical step is having a very significant impact on the country, especially on the food security of a majority of the country,” says Cardinal Wilfrid Napier, Chairperson of the KwaZulu Natal Church Leaders Group and Chairperson of the KZN Inter Religious Council.
The KZN united Church plan has Emergency Relief as their most immediate focus where they are aiming to roll-out cash vouchers to 1000 vulnerable families in each of the 11 Districts over the next three months through their Church-based fundraising efforts. Other elements of their provincial plan include: communications, education and awareness; pastoral care; advocacy around social and economic vulnerability. All of this is undergirded by an inter-denominal space for prayer and reflections on the life-affirming theology of care in the face of the pandemic.
They have partnered with the South African Council of Churches and Intellimali, a well-established SMS voucher service provider, to develop a solution that sends vouchers via SMS to beneficiaries identified by local community leaders and church networks.
These vouchers can be used at any Shoprite, PicknPay, Usave, Checkers or Boxer store, to purchase food and other essential items. With operational costs funded by a designated grant, and Intellimali supplying the system at cost, this solution is extremely cost effective with 99% of funds getting directly to the beneficiary.
Church leaders invites businesses, organisations and individuals to contribute generously.
The KZN Covid-19: Church Response website has further details. http://www.covid19response.co.za/
“This is the weekend we commemorate the death and celebrate the resurrection of Christ. It is a weekend of lament, hope and new life for all humanity. We are holding in tension the death on the cross and the resurrection from the dead in receiving the new life of Christ. Through Government efforts and support of the Church and the entire community we are confident to create a new, free, abundant and just dispensation for all South Africans” adds Dean Nkosinathi Myaka, Chairperson of KwaZulu Natal Christian Council.
Introduction: We are all still in shock as a result of the scale of the disaster that has befallen the people of Mozambique, Malawi and Zimbabwe, affecting some 3 million people in the three countries, with Mozambique the worst hit. Ordinary words cannot describe the magnitude of the tragedy, and the costs in human suffering, infrastructure and basic living going forward! With the flood waters receding, many are struggling to obtain food, shelter and clean water, and a cholera outbreak is spreading fast.
The Response Group: In the face of this mammoth challenge The Cyclone Disaster Response Group (The Group), held a press briefing on 4 April 2019, at Khotso House in Johannesburg, to inform South Africans about their consolidated emergency relief efforts and appeal for support for the victims of Cyclone Idai in Mozambique, Malawi and Zimbabwe. The Group is setting up a long term response to this disaster. The purpose is to more coherently coordinate the channelling of aid, to avoid causing recipient communities having to go to multiple support options, and to have a more orderly phasing of assistance for more effective long term support. The Group comprises the South African Council of Churches, the Red Cross Society, The Evangelical Alliance, HOPE worldwide, The Warehouse, Youth for Christ, A-Better-Africa and ACT Ubumbano.
How to contribute: The Group is launching a support fund, located at a dedicated bank account of the SACC to receive donations for the Disaster support. All people of goodwill with compassion, churches and faith communities, are requested to make direct grants to the fund, to support the affected communities in addressing the immediate needs and their long-term recovery from this storm. We request all churches, not only SACC and TEASA member churches, to mobilise their members and congregations and regional structures – presbyteries, districts, diocese, etc. to make financial donations to the fund. The money will be used to purchase prescribed goods as needed from phase to phase in the disaster areas of the three countries, and for the administration and the distribution of the goods through approved agencies.
The account details are:
Name: SACC Healing & Reconciliation Bank: Nedbank, Fox Str, Branch code: 190805, Account Number: 1129715000 Reference: “Cyclone Idai” plus name and contact number
From outside South Africa: Bank name: Nedbank Address: 135 Rivonia Road, Sandown, 2196, South Africa Phone number: +27 (0) 11 294 4444 Swift code: NEDSZAJJ Reference: “Cyclone Idai”, plus name and contact number.
Audit: Audit firm Deloitte will provide audit services to the fund, pro bono publico, to evaluate that donations received are spent in line with the objective of this project. Various Roles: We employ the diverse strengths of Group members. For example, HOPE worldwide engages with retailers for significant discounts on essential supplies for disaster relief. The Red Cross has logistical infrastructure and capacity to transport, as well as more than 30 collection points across the country for identified items for relief needs. Some of our partners have the networks to mobilise financial resources from South Africa and around the world. The churches have a broader and a more nuanced role:
First, we encourage South African congregations that have existing relationships with local churches in the affected areas, to build on these on a bilateral basis, and support the relief effort. This should be primarily through donating funds and providing long term support for reconstruction work in the communities.
Second, South African denominations that have extended institutional relationships with the affected countries should seek to work alongside their denominations in the affected communities, supporting their work through financial, logistical and pastoral support. A number of churches are doing this already. This week the Anglican Archbishop of Cape Town, Archbishop Makgoba whose pastoral responsibility includes Mozambique, has been visiting Beira and hosted by the locals in their misery, to be with, and work with them as they craft their solutions to the crisis. 3. Third, through the Fellowship of Christian Councils in Southern Africa (FOCCISA), the SACC has a direct relationship with the councils of churches in the three countries, this enabling local oversight for accountability and feedback on the impact of the organised support from this system. A more detailed “Guideline for Churches”, including prayer requests, is being developed and will be available by Friday 12 April. When available it will be published in the SACC monthly e-newsletter The Outlook, and the various electronic platforms and newsletters of member churches and partner organisations in the Cyclone Disaster Response Group. We are disciples of the One who said: “For I was hungry, and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in.” Matt. 25:35
Additional Information: The most immediate basic needs include food and potable water to survive; shelter and sanitation for hygiene and disease management. Following the immediate first aid, and in the mid-term, there will be the need to ensure food security, as the crops that were about to be harvested have now been washed away. In Mozambique alone, nearly 670, 000 hectares of crops have been damaged. Estimates are that some 12% of Malawi’s national maize output has been lost to the cyclone. There will be need for: • Rebuilding the lives of people living with the missing relatives, some of whose bodies may never be found. • The counselling and recalibrating the lives of orphaned children, some of them were first to be saved, leaving their parents who perished before the rescuers returned for them. • Trauma counselling for those children who may have seen their parents perish in the floods. UNICEF puts the number of children at risk as a result of the cyclone at about 260,000, and direct support will be needed to provide mechanisms to secure these children. This, not to mention the reconstruction of households, and public infrastructure of schools, health services and roads. Immediate HOPE worldwide Compassion Shipment: As a start, next week the first truck shipment that has been organised by HOPE worldwide is scheduled to departs for Beira. That effort began before the creation of the collective Cyclone Disaster Response Group. We are working together to support this first shipment, and seek to build on that experience. We are also aware that a number of church denominations have initiated their own individual response systems which are commendable. In this challenge we have come to recognise that there will be phases, from rescue, food and shelter; to recovery of the deceased and burials; to disease prevention and temporary village building and rebuilding of homes. There will be need for seeds to replant lost crops, and trying for winter cultivation; the building and equipping of public facilities, schools, health centres; and the rebuilding of destroyed infrastructure, etc. All these will need a consistency of support beyond the immediate. Again, at the human level, there is the deeper work of trauma counselling, especially for children who may have seen their parents perish in the floods.
Contact details: For information on how to contribute and logistics, please contact: Ms Pertunia Radebe +2711 241 7800, email@example.com
For media interview requests, please contact: SACC: Ms Moagisi Sibanda (Director Communications and Programmes) Email: firstname.lastname@example.org, Mobile: +2782 295 1581
South African Red Cross Society Mr Lwando Zandile (National Disaster Manager) Email: email@example.com, Mobile: +2781 017 6575
The Healing of Memories and Reconciliation, Social Cohesion, Networking and Partnerships year-end function was a resounding success of sharing, fellowship and robust dialogue. The event was well attended by KwaZulu-Natal Christian Council’s ecumenical partners and government officials. KZNCC Deputy CEO on Theology, Dr Lucas Ngoetjana, facilitated the robust dialogue that inspired the attendees to engage vigorously. They also came up with solution-oriented responses to topical issues including social cohesion, xenophobia, homophobia and gender-based violence, among others.
Bridget Phillips, a facilitator from the Institute For Healing of Memories, explained that the bulk of her work was about creating safe and sacred spaces where people can begin the journey of acknowledging the pain and letting go of what’s destructive inside them and being willing to leave the past behind. “The Healing of Memories (HoM) methodology has been tried and tested. It’s about taking the bondage off the wound, putting it in salty water and cleaning it. There’s guaranteed confidentiality during these sessions.”
Phillips also emphasised that healing is not an event but a lengthy-involved process of different phases. She urged everyone, especially men, to use the HoM tools as they enter their new journey in life after the workshops.
Rev Bernard Coopasamy of The Christ Tabloid newspaper shared how his Christianity had transformed him having been born into Hinduism. He believes this in itself was a healing process in his life. “Being invited to inter-faith groups changed my perspective on numerous things and this was when I embraced the healing process and social cohesion from there on,” he explained. This change inspired the concept of The Christ Tabloid newspaper which he said promotes social cohesion and seeks to “educated God’s people and bring their lives back in alignment to the Christ”.
There was a platform for people to share their stories and what moulded them into being the change-makers that they have become in society. Nomusa Shabalala, Anti-Xenophobia Community Facilitator and leader of Sisters of Faith in Action (SOFIA), a women’s movement at KZNCC, said that she was excited and proud to see women being well represented at the event. She spoke about the trip they took to Tanzania as SOFIA, learn about Village Community Banking (VICOBA) where they gained women empowerment skills including making clothes softeners, cheese paste and the VICOBA way of banking.
Keeping the enlightening conversations going, Mama Mngadi of Family Unity Organisation said strengthening family ties was important in counter-acting the societal challenges. “It’s one of the pillars that could potentially help us win against any social ills as they are a result of diminishing united and well-ground families.” Radio is another platform where these issues can be sufficiently tackled. Ps Victus Mthembu, responsible for Media and Publicity at KZNCC, said this platform had positioned the organisation in a positive light as a brand. Mthembu spoke about the Gender Justice programme in partnership with the Premier’s Office, in tackling gender-based violence, meted out against women and children.
Dr Douglas Dziva, CEO of KZNCC, concluded the proceedings as saying it was a good way to close off the year. “It was good sharing what is critical and important to us. It was well facilitated and inspiring, engaging and interesting.” Dziva also thanked the various key stakeholders and partners that KZNCC has had over the years.