Christian leaders in South Africa have warned against brewing political violence ahead of the municipal elections on Aug. 3.

Bishop Abel Gabuza, the chair of the bishops’ Justice and Peace Commission, invited members of all political parties in South Africa to participate in a gathering to pray for peace on July 6. In the statement that was sent to the Catholic Information Service for Africa, he emphasized the importance of peace and said the issue should not be taken for granted, the Vatican Radio┬árelays.

(Reuters/Rogan Ward)Protesters call for the removal of South Africa’s President Jacob Zuma as the country commemorates the anniversary of the country’s first democratic elections in Durban, South Africa, April 27, 2016.
In addition, Bishop Gabuza said all South African citizens need to take responsibility to maintain peace. He added that the country’s leaders need to display political maturity, especially during the election season. Unfortunately, he said the current environment does not point to a peaceful situation.

“The current levels of political violence do not reflect this sense of responsibility,” the bishop warned.

Moreover, Bishop Gabuza slammed the government for fueling political violence ahead of the municipal elections. He said continuing a culture of greed will lead to the destruction of South Africa, The Tablet details.

“We are disappointed that our political leaders have not been visible and loud enough in their condemnation of the recent factional violence and political assassinations,” said Bishop Gabuza in the statement.

The Christian bishop was referring to the fatal shooting of three people and arrest of 40 people in the Tshwane area in a violent incident sparked by the ruling party’s decision to support a certain mayoral candidate. In the riot, foreign-owned shops were looted and people burned cars and buses.

In light of the pre-election violence, the South African Council of Churches asked Christians to intervene in the political turmoil by intensifying their prayers and pastoral ministries where chaos abounds.