With many communities across the country voicing their dissatisfaction over selected ward candidates and some vowing to disrupt the upcoming elections, Mfuleni Ministers Fraternal (MMF) in partnership with Mfuleni Peace Monitors held a prayer session for peaceful elections.
On Sunday July 24, Mfuleni community leaders and ward candidates representing different political parties, including some members of different churches converged on Manzomthobo High School to attend the prayer session.
Reverend Gugulethu Ningi, chairperson of the MMF, said it was the responsibility of the church to facilitate peace and harmony in communities.
He said the church had played an instrumental role during the apartheid era as it restored faith and kept the hope of freedom alive.
He also believed that the church still had a significant role to play in post-apartheid South Africa.
He said they were praying for a peaceful culmination of the imminent electoral process and they were also urging residents to accept the results, whether their chosen candidates won or not.
He said the aim of the prayer session was to create a platform for all ward candidates to table their vision and plans for improving the conditions of their neighbourhood and also urging them to work together and set aside their differences.
Mr Ningi said the organisation would work hand in hand with the leaders of Mfuleni to ensure that the promises they made to the residents were fulfilled, but they also aim to create a spirit of unity and cohesion among the people of Mfuleni.
He said 100 days after the elections, they would evaluate the work that had be done and thereafter they would meet frequently to discuss the way forward.
“We would work closely with the leadership of Mfuleni including the residents because we believe that as churches we do need to be heavily involved in the communities we serve,” he said.
“The relationship that we have created with the leaders of this community would afford the people with an opportunity to keep their leaders accountable and it would also strengthen the relationship between residents and the leaders.
“Residents also got an opportunity to hear the vision and plans of the leaders on what they were planning to do. We have seen in other provinces like KwaZulu-Natal whereby leaders are killed because people were not satisfied with the candidates and we don’t want that to happen in our neighbourhood.
“And we consider ourselves lucky that we never experienced any violence or fight among the residents about who should stand as ward candidates in our community, “ he said.
Oyisa Sono, chairperson of Mfuleni Peace Monitors, told Vukani that the organisation had been formed by young people from Mfuleni in May this year, with the aim of educating and advising people of effective ways to voice their concerns.
He said they had noticed that many people were resorting to violence and destroying property because their demands were not being met and that also created conflict among the residents.
“We attend community meetings to ensure that whatever is discussed, is done in a peaceful manner. We also educate people about the importance of respecting the opinion of others, whether you agree with them or not and we are not affiliated to any political party. We serve under the United Nations Human Rights Council ( UNHRC) and the core message we deliver is that Ubuntu has no boundaries. One of the mandates of the organisations is to ensure that refugees in Mfuleni live in harmony,” he said.
Sithole Patrick, 54, ward candidate for the Pan Africanist Congress, said he was delighted that the two organisations had created this platform as it would ensure that the relationship between them and the community was healthy.
He added that this would also enable them to tolerate each other irrespective of their political ideologies.
“As the PAC we are ready to work with any political party that puts the needs of the people in the forefront and this platform creates transparency. We as residents of Mfuleni should consider ourselves to have this platform because it would ensure that we deliver to the needs of the people,” he said.