Church leaders in KZN call for peaceful elections

2014-02-25 00:00

THE church leaders of KwaZulu-Natal issued a pastoral letter at the weekend calling for peaceful elections while also noting that political freedom had not led to economic freedom.

The letter, published by the KwaZulu-Natal Church Leaders Group and prepared by Diakonia Council of Churches, was endorsed by representatives of the Anglican, Methodist, Evangelical Lutheran, Roman Catholic, United Congregational, Uniting Presbyterian and Ethiopian Episcopal churches, and the Society of Friends and the Salvation Army.

The letter noted that this year marked the 20th anniversary of the day “when many South Africans of all races stood in long lines filled with hope to cast their vote for the first time in their lives” and provided the fifth opportunity “for all of us to cast our votes in a ‘new’ South Africa”.

The church leaders said the country has “remained peaceful, and is relatively stable” while the economy is “still one of the strongest on the continent”, adding that there is, “to a large degree, political freedom of expression and the ability to make choices at the ballot box”.

However, while they acknowledged the “goal of political freedom has been attained” the church leaders said this had not been “followed by economic freedom, nor by increased gender and environmental justice”.

“The poverty gap has increased, the provision of quality housing remains woefully inadequate, service delivery is non-existent in many areas, and education and health are two major areas of concern. It is deeply distressing that too often, the pleas of the communities are ignored until they resort to protest action, which is met by violence, and then the problems are addressed and sometimes resolved.

“It is our sincere prayer that 20 years has brought sufficient political maturity to the people of this province whereby we are able to address our political differences with the ballot, and not with bullets or other weapons.

“We look forward to peaceful elections which will provide a government with a servant heart for the people, and for a positive future for this land,” the church leaders said.

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