Church must act now to help resolve service delivery crisis in Nelson Mandela Bay, says Jennings

An all-too-familiar sight in Nelson Mandela Bay, a street flooded as a result of an unattended water leak (PHOTO: Joseph Chirume/GroundUp)

It is time for church leaders and Christian citizens in Nelson Mandela Bay to stop just talking about the ongoing service delivery crisis and to take action to “take our city back”, said Trevor Jennings of the NMB Church Leaders Network.

He was speaking to Gateway News this week ahead of a meeting with NMB pastors today to plan a practical Church response to ongoing lack of service delivery as councillors focus on political power even as the city faces a water crisis which could see taps running dry in much of the metro this month.

He said today’s meeting would focus on two things — “a massive 24/7 prayer movement for the city which is already going like wildfire and which we are going to expand more because everything begins with prayer”; and secondly “we are going to be encouraging pastors to get really involved. We are going to ask them to find somebody in every ward to take the initiative”.

Jennings commended the way that the NMB Business Chamber is taking the initiative to keep services that are vital to business and industry running. “I am very excited about [the Church] working with the business chamber,” he said.

He said that with no end in site to municipal chaos, many people were looking to the Church and business to rescue the city. The Church has been at the forefront of recent civil society initiatives engage with councillors and politicians. While he said the initiatives have so far failed to get the councillors to put citizens first, it was remarkable to see the Church “getting so much recognition”.

“These guys are desperate and we cant lose this opportunity.” he said.

What would it be that would stop church leaders from getting involved in doing what we are asking? I don’t know if they lack confidence. But with the power of prayer and the Holy Spirit we have got the best of everything,” he said.

“To me, the best thing any church leader could do is to get in his car and go and meet the ward councillor. And say to him: ‘How can I help you?’ That would be the best way to evangelise our city.”

He suggested that church representatives could assist councillors to set up WhatsApp groups to get people reporting water leaks.

NMB Business Chamber CEO Denise van Huysteen highlighted the high cost to the metro of unattended water leaks in an article she released this week. “To label the water shortage facing the area as a drought is not accurate because what we are currently experiencing is a water management crisis,” she said, pointing out that water management issues accounted for 40% of the city’s water losses, with leaks contributing 29% of that total.

Jennings said that at today’s meeting they would be asking pastors “to give us just 59 secs every Sunday to say: “How is the water going in your ward? Are you reporting the leaks? Are you doing this and that. Are you praying for you guys?”

He said he believes that if pastors speak that way from the pulpit people will respond to the call to action.

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One Comment

  1. Suzette van Rooyen

    Well said Trevor. Corrupt officials also need to be held accountable. We need leaders who will serve the needs of the people and not their pockets.

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