Mediation centre will bring hope to community, says Nelson Mandela Bay pastor

Pastor Reuben Africa uses an orange to illustrate a truth about mediation. With him are collegaues Rob Beach, left and Rory Liesching. They are all members of the Mediation Centre which is being launched in West End, Nelson Mandela Bay on Tuesday October 26

Nelson Mandela Bay pastor Reuben Africa believes that the launch of a mediation centre in the metro’s northern areas next Tuesday will bring hope and relief to the community.

A seasoned pastor with a heart for the northern areas which has a long history of drugs and gang-related problems, he is a member of a panel of accredited mediators with a mission to move the community from litigation to mediation.

Pastor Africa told Gateway News in an interview this week that he will also be offering post-mediation Christian counselling where necessary.

“I believe in the power of mediation. The power of finding common ground and resolution,” he said.

“As a believer, I find that God uses His people to be peacemakers and bring His light into a dark and broken world. 

“Myself and other born-again mediators on our panel have found that mediation gives us access to people whose lives are in turmoil as a result of ongoing conflict.

“Many of these people end up in court battles over conflicts that could be settled in a quicker, cheaper and more efficient way,” he said.

He told of a painful conflict between a local church and a politically-involved community member that had been through courts for seven years without a resolution — which they resolved amicably through mediation in just a few hours.

Mediation aims to find the best possible solution for both parties, he said, using a story about two men and an orange to illustrate his point. In the story the men both find an orange at the same time and both lay claim to it. Normal wisdom would settle the quarrel by cutting the orange in half, he said. But mediation seeks to find out what it is about the orange that each man wants. If one just wants the peel to make marmalade and the other wants the juice to make a drink, they can arrive at an acceptable, best solution for both parties.

He said that factors which point to mediation being the future for conflict resolution include the fact that the court system is overloaded with cases and the passing of a law, Rule 41A, in 2019, that requires proof that parties involved in legal conflict, have tried mediation as an alternative before going to court.

Pastor Africa said that currently the Mediation Centre, which is a non profit organisation, gets referrals from the Law Clinic at Vista University in Missionvale, the Magistrate’s Court in North End and the High Court. But with next week’s launch they will be encouraging people to come to them directly for help. Their website address is www.mediationcentrepe.co.za. They also have a Facebook page –mediationcentrepe. The Mediation Centre office is at 2 Bede Street, West End.

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