SA faith community embraces good governance
The South African faith community on Thursday threw its weight behind the National Good Governance Week initiative, stressing the point that individuals outside state affairs were not absolved from subscribing to and practising the principles of good governance.
Representatives of various faith groupings, including Christianity, Bahai, Jewish Board of Deputies, Hindu, Islam, Buddhism, Rastafari and the African traditional faith, converged on Freedom Park in Pretoria to hold a prayer meeting for good governance.
The event took place within the context of the role the faith community plays in building communities, moulding societies and nurturing the human spirit. In addition, the event was held with the understanding that religion and spirituality play a fundamental role in people’s moral and ethical conduct.
“Even though we expect our leaders to subscribe to principles of good governance, let us also play our part,” said Rabbi Moshe Silberhaft of the Jewish Board of Deputies. “We are not absolved from practising good governance.”
Echoing the sentiments of Rabbi Silberhaft, Moulana Saqalain, representing the Islam community, implored society to be the change it wanted to see in state affairs.
Rev. Gift Moerane of the Christian community and Ras Madoda of the Rastafari movement decried acts of violence that have bedevilled society in recent times. These included the rape and murder of children, and service delivery mass actions.
“Power relations in society have been damaged as can be seen in service delivery protests and the related destruction of infrastructure,” Moerane said. “When we talk about governance, we refer to governance from street level to Parliament.”
Hatfield Christian Church’s Pam Ferreira called on leaders at all levels of society to lead by example and inspire hope.
Also speaking at the meeting, Chairperson of the Commission for the Promotion and Protection of the Rights of Cultural, Religious and Linguistic Communities, Rev. Wesley Mabuza, challenged the faith community to introspect and ask itself what kind of citizens it was producing.
“We must not shift the blame to politicians and the public,” he said. “Are we producing the types of people that have integrity?”
Describing corruption as a phenomenon that deluded people’s dignity, Rev. Mabuza said good governance was an attempt by organisations and individuals to “clothe people with dignity”. He said corruption was today doing what apartheid did in the past.
Also addressing the meeting, Public Protector Adv. Madonsela, whose office is spearheading the National Good Governance Week initiative and co-hosted the meeting with that of Freedom Park Chief Executive Fana Jiyane, thanked the religious leaders for embracing the good governance initiative.
She told guests that good governance needed to be taken seriously in order for the constitutional promises of an improved quality of life and a freed potential of each person to be realised.
Guests concluded proceedings by lighting candles as a symbol for their promotion of good governance. Hundreds of people took part in the meeting and the candle-lighting activity.
The National Good Governance Week is an annual campaign aimed at promoting good governance and fostering a shared understanding of the concept. It has been observed for the last four years.
For more information, contact:
Public Protector South Africa
012 366 7006
079 507 0399