Presidential Succession Debate

KZN Church Leaders Meet To Discuss The Presidential Succession Debate

KWAZULU-NATAL CHURCH LEADERS had a fruitful meeting with over 150 church representatives from all parts of KwaZulu Natal on the 20th of November 2007.

The purpose of this seminar was to mobilise church leaders to reflect on the current developments of the “Presidential succession race” as well as to develop a theological vision around leadership.

The panellists participating in this seminar included Bishop Lunga Ka Siboto, an Executive Member of South African Council of Churches, Bishop Rubin Phillip, the Chair-person of KZNCC. Christian leaders of other political parties as Rev. H. Mbatha, Rev S. Khumalo and Rev Z. Jiyane participated in the discussions.

Among the main speakers were speakers as:

Reverend Gugu Shelembe, Chair-person of Thukela-Mzinyathi Regional Christian Council chaired the seminar where Professor T. Maluleke’s paper was read before presentations by Ms. Samkelisiwe Mthethwa who spoke on grassroots understanding of the presidential race, Bishop R. Phillip spoke on the KZN context and the succession race, and Bishop T. Madlala, Chairperson of KRCC spoke on churches’ understanding of what is happening.

Some of the issues emerging from the debate about “the leader we want” include that we want to have:

  • A leader that will make democracy work for all people in spite of their status.
  • A leader with integrity, who will allow debates, with good morals and ethics, who is not self-centred, who can take blame without pushing it to someone else, a leader with value.
  • A leader that can rise above the party-political arena.
  • A leader that can unite South Africans.
  • A leader that will strengthen democracy.
  • A leader that will up lift the poor and those who are suffering.
  • A leader who cares for people and is chosen by them.
  • A leader, people – especially the poor can identify with.
  • A leader that will adhere to the Freedom Charter.
  • A leader who will take South Africans to the global context.
  • A leader who may not have all the above mentions qualities but who is prepared to develop them.
  • A leader who can change our poverty to prosperity
  • A leader who is transparent, accountable and morally upright

Some of the challenges facing the church and to be faced by the church include the following:

  • The church has to be clear about a clear agenda to drive in relation to transformation of people’s lives.
  • The church itself must open up to issues and questions of good governance and good leadership.
  • The church must widen discussions on morality, ethics and value systems.
  • The church has to be more visible, and should be forthright in its prophetic and pastoral functions.
    • The church has to pray for the government.
    • The church is not the enemy for the government.
  • The church leadership has to speak out to the government authorities about good governance and good leadership.
  • The church should minister to leaders, regardless of their political affiliation and religious orientation.

Church leaders called upon all South Africans to exercise caution and maturity when making public statements regarding the succession debate to ensure that their participation in the debate is not divisive and destructive.

They also called on all churches to set aside some time these coming weeks to offer special prayers on behalf of our country, our government and our leaders, for God’s special undertaking on the presidential succession debate and processes before, during and after the Polokwane ANC conference.

The outcome of this “Succession Debate Seminar from the Perspective of the Churches” was that churches started engaging on this debate, prayed for peace, stability, guidance and smooth processes, had an opportunity to listen to the voices from communities and church leadership as well as from Christians leading other political parties. KZNCC is facilitating continued discussions and debate at local level in Ladysmith, Eshowe, Durban, Edendale, Portshepstone and Amanzimtoti. In these gatherings, a pastoral letter containing a theological vision around “the leadership we want” will be distributed for discussion.

For more information contact

Bishop Rubin Phillip : (031) 3092066 Phumzile Zondi-Mabizela (033-3454819)