Johannesburg (Agenzia Fides) – “We need mayors and councillors who have genuine concern for the economic and other hardships that our citizens are enduring” said the pastoral Letter of the Southern African Bishops on the vote to renew local bodies to be held on August 3.

“No one wants leaders who are intent on making money and are only interested in party politics. Being a politician can be a noble Christian vocation”, emphasizes the Letter, sent to Agenzia Fides. The Bishops call on “those who aspire to leadership to ensure that our municipal districts are governed by principles of ethical leadership. We urge them to exercise power with honesty and accountability to the poor and the most vulnerable”.
Coinciding with the publication of the pastoral Letter of the Bishops, the Episcopal Justice and Peace Commission of the Southern African Catholic Bishops’ Conference issued a statement in which they criticized the insufficient condemnation from politicians of recent violence that marred the election campaign. “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 His Exc. Mgr. Abel Gabuza, Bishop of Kimberley, who chairs the Southern African Catholic Bishops’ Conference justice and peace commission.
In mid-June at least three people were killed in Tshwane, near Pretoria, in clashes sparked by the choice of a candidate in the municipal elections by the ruling party.
“Politicians are mobilizing the young people in our communities, especially the unemployed youth, to engage in pre-election violence”, denounces Mgr. Gabuza, calling on South Africans “not to allow themselves to be used by politicians who show signs that their primary interest is greed for power and government tenders”. A prayer service for the peaceful conduct of the vote will be held on July 6 in Durban. (L.M.) (Agenzia Fides 01/07/2016)