One of the prophetic calls on the Church in community is synergising the social compact so that the order of life is meaningfully lived.
When members of society have implicit agreement on values that build communities for the benefit of society, when they talk and work together, and at times sacrifice their status or egos, the combined creativity and skills produce results that benefit generations, often beyond our imagination.
Prophet Isaiah 58 enjoins us all as a Church, “Is it not this kind of fasting I have chosen to loosen chains of injustice, to untie the cords of the yoke, to set the oppressed free?”
This, in a nutshell, speaks to the synergy of all of us sharing our resources for the benefit of the healthy society.
If we do not share resources in a society that is so unequal, we might as well kiss order, peace and social cohesion good-bye.
A hungry and poor community, with such a high unemployment rate as ours, and which is beset with unabated corruption that sheds poor delivery of services will never be at peace.
The results will be increased incidences of crime, looting, factional fights drug abuse and gender-based violence.
It is for this reason that the church leadership of Nelson Mandela Bay is giving the following suggestions based on the law of Christ which states: “carry each other’s burdens and you will fulfil the law of Christ”
The Church strongly suggests a formation of church-led “ward service delivery”
As you may know, the Nelson Mandela Bay Church Leader Network (NMBCLN) has joined forces with a multi-stakeholder group comprised of representatives from diverse organizations and backgrounds who have a common goal of serving the best interests of the citizens by driving solutions to address a multitude of challenges facing the Metro.
The Christian Church, which collectively makes up the largest network of people in our Metro, has been approached by our partners to assist in addressing the collapse of service delivery in NM Bay.
Pastors and congregants can make a real difference!
There are over 720 churches in NM Bay, which equates to more than 10 congregations in every one of our 60 municipal wards.
Given our present state of affairs in the poor delivery of services, we encourage all our Church leaders to team up with their local ward councillors in order to tackle service delivery problems in their wards.
The Church Leadership Network will supply all the contact details necessary to make it easy for people to connect to form these “ward service delivery teams”
The first step will be to invite all the church leaders and their congregants in each ward to become members of a “ward service delivery team”
Encourage your congregants to join or form active ward, suburb or street WhatsApp groups.
Congregants and pastors can become involved immediately by spotting and reporting service delivery problems as and when you see them – water leaks, illegal dumping, streetlights that do not work, potholes, and missing drain covers are just some of the problems that should be reported to the municipality.
The second step is for each church leader to make contact with their own ward councillor to inform them of the intervention by the church to ensure that services are delivered.
This is a partnership with clear intentions to maximise the capacity to deliver services.
The third step will be to familiarize ourselves on how to report service problems to the appropriate municipal call centre with a copy to the relevant ward councillor.
We are well aware that ward councillors and municipal staff receive lucrative remuneration packages for the sole purpose of delivering municipal services.
We call on church members to be involved on voluntary basis to help make the changes that are needed for a metro that delivers services and supports job creation.
It is essential that we don’t allow our requests to get “stuck” in non-functional call centres.
Share the reference number provided by the municipality with your ward councillor and appoint members of the congregation to follow up with the ward councillor and municipality on a weekly basis until the problem is addressed.
Though we know that these “reference numbers” are sometimes given by officials as a red tape measure, it is only with reference numbers that we can hold the officials accountable.
We will also make use of the local radio station and print media, as well as social media to put pressure on the municipality and councillors to do their jobs properly.
The following problem are the primary focus areas:
- Water supply/leaks.
- Sewage collection & disposal.
- Refuse removal.
- Electricity supply.
- Roads & storm water drainage.
- Street lighting.
- Parks and recreation facilities.
- Incidents of corruption – bribery, theft, etc.
The success of this initiative will depend on the extent to which church Leaders are willing to get involved, encourage other church leaders and their congregants in their municipal wards to become “Spotters” of our service delivery problems.
With God on our side, we will succeed. Please contact Trevor Jennings our Communications Officer to assist with:
- Service Centre Contact Numbers
- Ward Councillor in your municipal ward
- Church Leaders in your municipal ward
- Radio stations and newspapers
His email is firstname.lastname@example.org
Bishop Dr Jacob Freemantle
Methodist Church of Southern Africa (William Kama District)