Public Enterprises Deputy Minister Bulelani Magwanishe has called on church leaders to play a leadership role in fighting violence against women and foreign nationals.
Addressing members of the Methodist Church’s Young Men’s Guild in Belville on Saturday, the Deputy Minister said churches must mobilise youth and women to provide moral leadership in a society that is under attack from a lot of social ills.
He said this as most government Ministers are on a nationwide campaign to engage with members of communities to promote a spirit of co-existence between locals and foreign nationals. The Deputy Minister said church leaders, like Desmond Tutu, led the fight against the apartheid regime in the past, and that churches of today should work hand-in-hand with the community like they did back then to bring about normality and morality to the society.
“Where are the men and women to lead us into our peaceful corner. We need to reclaim humanity as the theme of today’s message and we need young men and women to lead us. The church has historically been a pillar for the struggle of our people,” he said.
“The Methodist church directs the members of the guild to be active and to act as servants of the community and the church. Youth, women and the church must be mobilised towards the same goal,” he said.
The Deputy Minister’s address to the youth guild comes after President Jacob Zuma convened a meeting with stakeholders from business, labour, civic society and NGOs, amongst others, to discuss how all sectors of society can play their role in rooting out these social ills from the society.
Over the past two weeks, South Africa and the continent have been in mourning after several foreign nationals lost their lives while many others were injured when attacks on foreign nationals and the looting of shops broke out from KwaZulu-Natal, spreading out to some parts of Gauteng.
This led to Defence Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula announcing that the army would be deployed to several hotspots to assist the police in bringing normality back to the affected areas.
Later, a member of the youth guild asked the Deputy Minister whether the attacks on foreign nationals is not crime being disguised under legitimate community concerns.
Some of the concerns or allegations that have been cited for the attacks was illegal immigrants who are in the country while locals live in poverty and are without jobs.
The Deputy Minister agreed, and said members of the public should not allow themselves to be used or swayed by people with hidden agendas.
He said no amount of frustration can justify unlawful acts and brutality against fellow Africans.
“Responsible citizens will always refuse the act to commit injustice,” he said.
Government had several programmes in place to address unemployment and poverty, and urged young black people to come forward and apply for funding from developmental institutions to launch industries in productive sectors of the economy.