In a country where poverty is rife and unemployment high, it will take real change to overcome these complex challenges. Solly Msimanga, the mayor of the Tshwane Metro takes these challenges seriously. Under his leadership a special mayoral task team was established in October 2016 with a renewed commitment to alleviate poverty in the heart of the city.
The mayor works closely with Pastor Jimmy Wright, who is the chief executive officer of The CROSSing Lion Gate Group of Companies, who is also part of the task team. The goal of the task team is to implement what was dubbed the “City Transformation Programme” to address some of these pressing issues.
Louis Gerber, Managing Director for the group and Operational Manager for the Christian Business Chamber Chapters in South Africa on behalf of CROSSing Lion Gate Group of Companies talked to Gateway News about their plans.
“It is the communities that struggle with a myriad of issues, which is at the heart of the city.
“In these communities there are people who are left trapped in a poverty-stricken system which offers them limited to no real solutions to their problems,” he said.
One of the main goals of the programme is to establish at least 60 community care centres across the city over a period of two years — ultimately to have one in every ward.
“We want to start by giving the communities access to basic and essential services that will empower them to find real solutions to their challenges,” said Gerber.
Gerber is already doing ground-breaking work, acting as wealth coach with CROSSing Community Chest Platform to implement a community banking platform to assist members of the community to get out of debt, with the help of interest-free loans.
“Members of this platform can pay off interest-bearing debt, saving between 18-26% interest annually, to get out of the financial slavery system of the world,” he said.
“We want to appoint wealth coaches at each of the centres as part of a dynamic team to help the people to change their way of thinking about finances and help them manage their resources better,” said Gerber.
The model of the community banking platform is based on Scripture, such as: Proverbs 13:22 — “A good man leaves an inheritance for their children’s children, but a sinner’s wealth is stored up for the righteous”, which Gerber says, is at the centre of it all.
“We all have a responsibility to manage our resources so well that our grandchildren can benefit from it,” he said.
The Christian Business Chamber is a non-profit entrepreneurial platform used to assist small business owners, NGOs and communities to participate in service delivery and develop workers and financial co-operatives with a mandate to help other groups to start their own community banking platforms.
These community centres will mainly be funded by local Christian Business Chamber Trusts supported by local businesses in the ward.
“The plan is for each ward to have a Christian Business Chamber that then establishes a trust. From out the trust each community centre should be funded,” said Gerber.
He said by using this model they actively engaged in transforming dysfunctional and consumer-minded societies back to thriving and functional Kingdom-minded societies.
“We want to use a basic model that is built on Kingdom principles. This model can easily be rolled out throughout the country and in various regions, and wards,” Gerber said.
He said they want the wards to adopt the CROSSing Community Care Centre model. “We respect the existing structures of government (both municipal, regional and national), the business industry, and church society support structures (NGO’s, incubator centres, religious institutions and educational infrastructure such as schools). These community entities need to be commended for the great work they are doing in building the economy and addressing the ills of society, but we have more.
“Many of these efforts fail as there is no solid model to work from. We need to establish a hub/platform, from where all these services can be accessed more easily, and all the different sectors of society can work together. This will enable us to have a more organised and holistic approach in addressing the unique challenges of each community.”
Gerber said each centre would be run by a team of experts in the community, who have the communities’ interest at heart.
The greater vision is summed up by the slogan “One Child… One Family… One Community… One City at a time, Transformed!”, he said.