News 15.2.2015 09:46 am

Methodist Church concerned by SONA ‘chaos’

EFF leader is pictured outside parliament after being removed from the state of the nation address in Cape Town, 12 February 2015. Picture: Refilwe Modise

EFF leader is pictured outside parliament after being removed from the state of the nation address in Cape Town, 12 February 2015. Picture: Refilwe Modise

The Methodist Church of SA (MCSA) added its voice to concerns over events at last week’s state of the nation address, calling it a “sad day for our nascent and hitherto exemplary African democracy”.

“The chaos witnessed at the State of the Nation Address (SONA) 2015 was hugely embarrassing domestically and internationally for the South African nation. Bishop Zipho Siwa, president of the SA Council of Churches and the presiding bishop of the MCSA said in a statement.

It did not augur well for the country’s future and entrenched the groundswell of negative sentiment towards the country.

This would gradually impact on the economy in ways which would hurt its growth.

“The increasing reliance on political muscle and a failure to listen to each other’s grievances can only lead to heightened public dissatisfaction and a repeat of the continued political lashing out we are currently witnessing,” he said.

The scenes at Sona were symptomatic of growing disgruntlement with the way the country was being governed.

“We urge all stakeholders to observe parliamentary procedures of debate which are underpinned by the Constitution of the Republic to avoid further turmoil which could culminate in civil unrest in the country.”

However, the church commended the attention given to the energy and water crises during President Jacob Zuma’s address, and said it would hold the government accountable for the implementation of the plans Zuma outlined.

The church would have liked to hear “more informed strategies” to deal with poverty, education and the health sector crises.

“Concrete strategies to facilitate the redistribution of land have yet to be carefully formulated, an urgent concern given the reported increase in farm invasions.”

Siwa said the continuing violent service delivery protests, xenophobic attacks and looting of foreign owned shops were symptomatic of underlying corruption and socio-economic issues.

If not dealt with competently they had the potential to negatively impact the moral fibre and economy of the country.

“The churches pray that government and opposition parties will reach a consensus on the decorum of debate, astutely engage in conversations and dialogue that will heal our nation and advance the causes of Nelson Mandela’s proud nation, grow our economy and improve the living standards of our people.”

 

08

today in print