[notice]A monthly column in which we share testimonies of some of South Africa’s ‘True Champions’ who bring glory to God and bless their fellow-citizens, by opposing the tide of corruption and taking a strong stand for ethics in their spheres of influence. You are warmly invited to suggest anybody you think deserves recognition as a ‘True Champion’. Please email your suggestions to firstname.lastname@example.org.[/notice]
This month’s True Champion is not an individual but rather the church leaders in Nelson Mandela Bay (NMB) who are taking an active stand before the May 7 elections against corruption, maladministration and incompetence that contribute to lack of service delivery, education, health and unemployment. A key objective of the initiative is to keep politicians accountable to how they spend public funding budgets.
I spoke to NMB Consultation of Christian Churches task team chairman Pastor Neville Goldman about the initiative a week after the leaders released their declaration of war on political power abuse in which they say they intend to mobilise civil society, business and other sectors of society to join them. He said they had made a solid start with a round of cluster meetings in various parts of the metro, aimed at mobilising pastors to know the specific needs of their wards, the key local roleplayers, and to monitor service delivery in their wards. Next week they will have a series of meetings with politicians. And before the elections they plan to hold several mass meetings focused on service delivery and on voter education aimed at discouraging voters from supporting a corrupt system. He said churches in the metro are already educating voters from the pulpit — not as a political party but as a prophetic voice. He said it is significant that by far the biggest voting bloc in the country is made up of people who are not card-carrying members of any party and therefore not ‘owned’ by the parties.
Goldman said the church leaders do commend government for the good they have done over the years “but we cannot allow corruption and maladministration to cloud all of that.”
He said it seems that when government corruption is exposed there are no legal consequences, people make excuses and justify their stealing and the ‘tenderpreneurs’ are able to continue leading to poor service delivery which hits the poor hardest.
“That is why the church is rising up,” he said. And judging from phonecalls and Facebook responses it seems as if many people have been waiting for the church to give leadership.
UNASHAMEDLY ETHICAL invites True Champions to stand up and be counted: More than 15 000 South Africans have signed the Unashamedly Ethical commitment to a public life of ethics, values and clean living. If you haven’t committed yet, why not do so now, here?