Cape Town – The Methodist Church of Southern Africa has called on faith leaders to become the voices of reason after the spate of elections-related violence in the country.
Bishop Ziphozihle Siwa said in a statement the church had observed with growing alarm the rapid spread of pre-election violence, the senseless destruction of property and the reckless crescendo of ethnic, tribal slurs.
“The culture of wanton destruction and violence during protests seems to be taking root in our country as the only ‘voice’ that is listened to and thought to bring about a rapid response from Government.
"This is misguided and totally unacceptable,” he said,
He said people of faith should not tolerate the public discourse degenerating into tribalism, factionalism and anarchy nor play any part in stoking the fires of destruction.
“We urge all ministers of the Methodist Church to provide leadership, counselling and guidance at this crucial time. The destruction of property is wrong, unacceptable and all culprits should be brought to book.”
He called on people of faith to act as the voices and ears of peace and reason to avert further violence and extra-judicial killings in the six weeks left to the elections.
The Methodist church also called on all political party leaders to act responsibly and not make inflammatory statements.
“We plead with any political leaders who might not be in office after the elections to refrain from inciting others to violence in their desire to remain in positions of power.”
Violence broke out this week in Tshwane, following the announcement of the mayoral candidate.
Five people died, and dozens were arrested.