Why is it that thousands of South Africans are involved in community outreach, yet the output is just not commensurate with our input?

The problem lies in the fact that our efforts are disconnected, and as a result there is a lack of traction in responding to the challenges of inequality, poverty and unemployment.

Having identified the challenge church leaders in Nelson Mandela Bay have joined forces in a programme which, we believe, will unite the people of the metro in order to rebuild the walls/wards of our city.

It is inspired by the Biblical tale of the priest and businessman Nehemiah who, from around 445 BC, led the people of Jerusalem to rebuild sections of its walls, one section at a time.

The Nelson Mandela Bay Nehemiah approach is based on city-wide management grid in the form of the municipal ward structure, which includes the building blocks of:

  • The municipal ward councillor and the members of the ward committee
  • Existing civic organisations
  • The churches and schools located in the specific ward
  • Health clinics and hospitals
  • Key players in the Safety and Security Sector i.e. SAPS, Neighbourhood Watch and Peace Monitors.

We will rebuild the social and economic walls of the wards one at a time by helping and empowering civil society, business and the local political leadership to work together to provide jobs and hope for our all our citizens through sustainable economic development at micro and macro levels.

Historical segregation has left many wards under-resourced. This is where partnerships with reputable NGOs, church groups and businesses are needed to identify and address the most critical social issues – one ward at a time.

We believe that the Nehemiah Model provides the necessary framework for us to work together. Firstly, it provides the compelling vision we need to unite people around an implementable and sustainable plan of action.

Secondly, it addresses the needs of the whole metro – no ward will be left out.

Thirdly, we have the tools needed to identify real needs. These tools include input from NGOs on the ground in the wards, socio-economic profiles of the wards, social mapping, and the Integrated Development Plan of the municipality.

Fourthly, collaboration and implementation are made easier when key drivers such as NGOs, infrastructure and businesses are already in place. Potential partners would include: Siya Sebenza, ABCD (Asset-based Community-driven Development through Ikhala Trust as a locally based NGO) and Farming God’s Way.

We are using a geographic information system to plot where the resources and existing projects are in the metro in order to avoid duplication.

Finally, we are focused on the six priority areas identified in the South African Council of Churches “The SA we Pray For”. These are healing and reconciliation; restoration of the family; addressing inequality, poverty and unemployment; economic transformation and anchoring democracy.

Practical projects in the fields of education, health and local job creation will be addressed by churches, business and NGOs.

The focus areas of healing and reconciliation, restoration of the family, economic transformation and anchoring democracy are being dealt with by the Nelson Mandela Bay Church Leadership Network.

Should you be interested in helping to rebuild the walls of the Metro or to find out more please contact info@tcn.org.za.

This approach can be duplicated in any town or city in South Africa.

Nehemiah 2:17: Then I said to them, “You see the trouble we are in: Jerusalem lies in ruins, and its gates have been burned with fire. Come, let us rebuild the wall of Jerusalem, and we will no longer be in disgrace.” (NIV).

Signed on behalf of the NMB Church Leadership Group

Pastor Daan Botha:  Harvest Christian Church

Dean Mark Derry:  Vicar General Anglican Church of PE

Bishop Jacob Freemantle:  Methodist Church of SA (Grahamstown District)

Apostle Neville Goldman:  Ebenezer International

Reverend Howard Hans:  Chairperson Metro SACC

Dr Bukelwa Hans:  Provincial Vice President of the SACC

Pastor Mary-Rose Jacobs: Secretary NMB Religious Leaders Desk

Reverend Themba Mahuwa:  Branch Secretary SACC:  NMB Metro Branch

Reverend Danie Mouton:  Director Synod Eastern Cape DRC

Reverend Rory Spence:  Moderator Presbyterian Church (Central & Southern Cape)

Dr Dave Pedersen:  Fountain Vineyard Church

Pastor Russell Viljoen:  Chairperson NM Bay Church Leaders Group

Pastor Johannes Welskit: Regional Leader EC AFM

Bishop Vincent Zungu:  Catholic Diocese PE

Trevor Jennings

31 July 2018.