On 26 September 2017, a meeting was held with representatives of all the mainline denominations and the large independent Christian Churches in the Nelson Mandela Bay.  Also present at the meeting were representatives of the Metro Religious Unit and Muslim Faith. The purpose of the meeting was to address the breakdown in governance in our Metro. This was prompted by the failure of the Nelson Mandela Bay Council to sit due to the lack a quorum last Thursday. This resulted in the adjournment of the council meeting and thus no council business could be dealt with.

The leaders present all agreed that the members of all political parties should act in the best interest of the people of the Metro who have spoken in the 2016 local government elections. It was felt that boycotting council meetings betrays the mandate of the voters, who have elected the members of the council to attend council meetings and to exercise the vote the people of the Metro have given them.

It was therefore resolved that an appeal be made to all council members irrespective of political parties to attend the next scheduled council meeting. No party should make any demands for their return to council meetings. The Religious leaders confirmed their view that all disputes that cannot be resolved by negotiation, especially the criminal charges that were laid against the two councillors, due to an altercation in a council meeting earlier in the year, be dealt with by the courts of law, which is a basic principle of the rule of law. They reaffirmed their faith in the South African justice system.

The Church and religious leaders present, also resolved to pray for the leadership of the various political parties in our council, that they may set aside their differences for the sake of the citizens of this Metro. Matthew 18 requires the Christians to go to the person who they have an offence or disagreement with, to resolve their differences. We believe that this is the case in all other religions practiced within the Metro.  Furthermore, the religious leaders extended an invitation to the leaders of the political parties, to come and meet with a delegation of the church and religious leaders, to discuss the way forward.

We are all aware of the challenges that can be presented to the governance of this Metro, if it is placed under administration and the religious leaders reiterated that they do not wish this to happen to Metro of Nelson Mandela. The religious leaders expect the political leaders to work together to focus on the triple challenges that confront our communities, namely, poverty, unemployment and inequality. These affect all of us, regardless of race, religion, culture and political affiliation.

As religious leaders who have authority to guide our people, in matters of morality, we reserve the right to go back to our congregants to get a mandate to deal with those leaders who do not put the interests of the people of this Metro first. We don’t wish for that and thus we appeal to all political leaders to work together and treat our people with great care and respect as the responsible leaders that they were elected to be.

Pastor Daan Botha:  Harvest Christian Church

Dr Jimmy Crompton:  Word of Faith

Pastor Zolile Dayimani:  Chairperson Gqebera Ministers Fraternal

Pastor Patrick Douglas-Henry:  AFM

Apostle Neville Goldman:  Ebenezer International

Reverend Howard Hans:  Chairperson Metro SACC

Pastor Lingelihle Jadezweni:  RUCC-PE

Bishop Andile Mbete:  Methodist Church of SA (Grahamstown District)

Reverend Danie Mouton:  Director Synod Eastern Cape DRC

Reverend Sipho Ncapayi:  Moderator Presbyterian Church (Central & Southern Cape)

Bishop Bethlehem Nopece:  Anglican Church SA (PE Diocese)

Dr Dave Pedersen:  Fountain Vineyard Church

Reverend Mongi Qupe:   Chairperson MRU

Sheikh Nceba Salamntu:  Islam Faith

Reverend Rory Spence:  Presbyterian Church

Pastor Russell Viljoen:  Ebenezer North Community Church

Pastor Johannes Welskit: Regional Leader EC AFM

Bishop Vincent Zungu:  Catholic Diocese PE