/ 17 October 2007

Churches call for frank succession debate

Churches should encourage a diversity of opinions and frank debate in the run-up up to the African National Congress’s (ANC) election of its new leadership in December, the South African Council of Churches (SACC) said on Wednesday.

”Processes relating to elections are critical for the strength of democracy in our country,” said the SACC in a statement on Wednesday.

This follows a meeting between more than 30 church leaders at Khotso House on Tuesday to discuss matters related to succession and leadership.

”Succession matters are of critical importance to us as churches because … governance affect[s] the poorest of the poor,” said SACC president Professor Tinyiko Maluleke in his address.

”Succession matters when palace politics consume all the energies of political parties and all influential worker and civic organisations, to the detriment of the poor, who are crying out for service.

”Succession is everything and not only about leadership,” he added.

He called for leadership that was ”vulnerable, loyal and accountable to God and the electorate”.

The SACC’s second vice-president argued that responsible political leadership ought to engender social and economic justice.

”Responsible leadership in Africa will thrive when respect, integrity, and full participation by all are encouraged,” said Dr Puleng Lenka-Bula. – Sapa