24 August 2010
As a group of senior church leaders in Nelson Mandela Bay we respect the right of organised labour to further the interests of their membership through legal strike action.
We are, however, seriously concerned about the manner in which the deadlock between concerned parties has led to neglect of those most at risk in society. Developments during the current public strike led to:
- young children roaming the streets as education has been shut down;
- matriculants, who need to prepare for the most important exam of their lives, being left without vital educational support;
- the sick, injured and those in need of urgent medical care foregoing adequate care and intervention.
We urge government and labour unions to bring the dispute to a speedy and amicable resolution. National priorities, such as the right to life as well as the education and safety of our children are at stake.
We urgently call on those responsible for essential medical services to immediately return to work.
We appeal to those participating in the strike to refrain from violence, intimidation and coercion.
We support the speedy resolution of the labour dispute and planned initiatives regarding the labour unrest to benefit education and medical services in our community.
The group has requested Bishops Nopece , ka Siboto, Coleman and Pastor Neville Goldman to meet with both government and labour union leaders to discuss how to deal with the current crisis in our city.
Churches have started volunteer programmes to support state hospitals and schools in our city. Schools, pre-schools, crèches, hospitals and medical facilities in need of volunteers are asked to contact our support hotline for volunteer help. Please specify your needs clearly:
Fax: 0865 860 623
SMS: 083 380 4165
All requests will be handled confidentially.
Signed: Bishop Michael Coleman, Pastor Patrick Douglas-Henry, Pastor Neville Goldman, Bishop Lunga ka Siboto, Bishop Musi Losaba, Ds Danie Mouton, Bishop Bethlehem Nopece, Rev Rory Spence.