Media Release: Churches, Faith-based Organisations and the Red Cross and Combine for Long Term Response to Cyclone Disaster

The Cyclone Disaster Response Group Statement

Introduction: We are all still in shock as a result of the scale of the disaster that has befallen the people of Mozambique, Malawi and Zimbabwe, affecting some 3 million people in the three countries, with Mozambique the worst hit. Ordinary words cannot describe the magnitude of the tragedy, and the costs in human suffering, infrastructure and basic living going forward! With the flood waters receding, many are struggling to obtain food, shelter and clean water, and a cholera outbreak is spreading fast.

The Response Group: In the face of this mammoth challenge The Cyclone Disaster Response Group (The Group), held a press briefing on 4 April 2019, at Khotso House in Johannesburg, to inform South Africans about their consolidated emergency relief efforts and appeal for support for the victims of Cyclone Idai in Mozambique, Malawi and Zimbabwe. The Group is setting up a long term response to this disaster. The purpose is to more coherently coordinate the channelling of aid, to avoid causing recipient communities having to go to multiple support options, and to have a more orderly phasing of assistance for more effective long term support. The Group comprises the South African Council of Churches, the Red Cross Society, The Evangelical Alliance, HOPE worldwide, The Warehouse, Youth for Christ, A-Better-Africa and ACT Ubumbano.

How to contribute: The Group is launching a support fund, located at a dedicated bank account of the SACC to receive donations for the Disaster support. All people of goodwill with compassion, churches and faith communities, are requested to make direct grants to the fund, to support the affected communities in addressing the immediate needs and their long-term recovery from this storm. We request all churches, not only SACC and TEASA member churches, to mobilise their members and congregations and regional structures – presbyteries, districts, diocese, etc. to make financial donations to the fund. The money will be used to purchase prescribed goods as needed from phase to phase in the disaster areas of the three countries, and for the administration and the distribution of the goods through approved agencies.

The account details are:

Name: SACC Healing & Reconciliation Bank: Nedbank, Fox Str, Branch code: 190805, Account Number: 1129715000 Reference: “Cyclone Idai” plus name and contact number

From outside South Africa: Bank name: Nedbank Address: 135 Rivonia Road, Sandown, 2196, South Africa Phone number: +27 (0) 11 294 4444 Swift code: NEDSZAJJ Reference: “Cyclone Idai”, plus name and contact number.

Audit: Audit firm Deloitte will provide audit services to the fund, pro bono publico, to evaluate that donations received are spent in line with the objective of this project. Various Roles: We employ the diverse strengths of Group members. For example, HOPE worldwide engages with retailers for significant discounts on essential supplies for disaster relief. The Red Cross has logistical infrastructure and capacity to transport, as well as more than 30 collection points across the country for identified items for relief needs. Some of our partners have the networks to mobilise financial resources from South Africa and around the world. The churches have a broader and a more nuanced role:

First, we encourage South African congregations that have existing relationships with local churches in the affected areas, to build on these on a bilateral basis, and support the relief effort. This should be primarily through donating funds and providing long term support for reconstruction work in the communities.

Second, South African denominations that have extended institutional relationships with the affected countries should seek to work alongside their denominations in the affected communities, supporting their work through financial, logistical and pastoral support. A number of churches are doing this already. This week the Anglican Archbishop of Cape Town, Archbishop Makgoba whose pastoral responsibility includes Mozambique, has been visiting Beira and hosted by the locals in their misery, to be with, and work with them as they craft their solutions to the crisis. 3. Third, through the Fellowship of Christian Councils in Southern Africa (FOCCISA), the SACC has a direct relationship with the councils of churches in the three countries, this enabling local oversight for accountability and feedback on the impact of the organised support from this system. A more detailed “Guideline for Churches”, including prayer requests, is being developed and will be available by Friday 12 April. When available it will be published in the SACC monthly e-newsletter The Outlook, and the various electronic platforms and newsletters of member churches and partner organisations in the Cyclone Disaster Response Group. We are disciples of the One who said: “For I was hungry, and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in.” Matt. 25:35

Additional Information: The most immediate basic needs include food and potable water to survive; shelter and sanitation for hygiene and disease management. Following the immediate first aid, and in the mid-term, there will be the need to ensure food security, as the crops that were about to be harvested have now been washed away. In Mozambique alone, nearly 670, 000 hectares of crops have been damaged. Estimates are that some 12% of Malawi’s national maize output has been lost to the cyclone. There will be need for: • Rebuilding the lives of people living with the missing relatives, some of whose bodies may never be found. • The counselling and recalibrating the lives of orphaned children, some of them were first to be saved, leaving their parents who perished before the rescuers returned for them. • Trauma counselling for those children who may have seen their parents perish in the floods. UNICEF puts the number of children at risk as a result of the cyclone at about 260,000, and direct support will be needed to provide mechanisms to secure these children. This, not to mention the reconstruction of households, and public infrastructure of schools, health services and roads. Immediate HOPE worldwide Compassion Shipment: As a start, next week the first truck shipment that has been organised by HOPE worldwide is scheduled to departs for Beira. That effort began before the creation of the collective Cyclone Disaster Response Group. We are working together to support this first shipment, and seek to build on that experience. We are also aware that a number of church denominations have initiated their own individual response systems which are commendable. In this challenge we have come to recognise that there will be phases, from rescue, food and shelter; to recovery of the deceased and burials; to disease prevention and temporary village building and rebuilding of homes. There will be need for seeds to replant lost crops, and trying for winter cultivation; the building and equipping of public facilities, schools, health centres; and the rebuilding of destroyed infrastructure, etc. All these will need a consistency of support beyond the immediate. Again, at the human level, there is the deeper work of trauma counselling, especially for children who may have seen their parents perish in the floods.

Contact details: For information on how to contribute and logistics, please contact: Ms Pertunia Radebe +2711 241 7800, pertunia@sacc.org.za

For media interview requests, please contact: SACC: Ms Moagisi Sibanda (Director Communications and Programmes) Email: moagisi@sacc.org.za, Mobile: +2782 295 1581

South African Red Cross Society Mr Lwando Zandile (National Disaster Manager) Email: lzandile@redcross.org.za, Mobile: +2781 017 6575

 

 

Faith-based Organisations Response to Cyclone Disaster

Churches Disaster Challenge Response

 

Pics:- Demonstration of Cyclone Idai at various countries mentioned below.

Approximately 3 million helpless people have been affected by the devastation caused by Cyclone Idai in Mozambique, Malawi and Zimbabwe with Mozambique the worst hit.
In the face of this mammoth challenge the South African Council of Churches, together with other faithbased have set up The Cyclone Disaster Response Group to coordinate efforts, invite to look at responses in the following ways:

  1. Local churches and congregations: Where relationships with affected communities or agencies already exist, local congregations are encouraged to build on these and support the relief effort. This should be primarily through donating funds and providing long term support for work in the community.
  2. National church structures: The SACC and TEASA have established The Cyclone Disaster Response Group, to act as a central coordinating entity for the church response from South Africa. Partnerships with appropriate aid agencies, government and business will be utilized to ensure the most effective use of resources and networks. It is envisaged that the primary focus will be on encouraging the donation of funds supporting purchase of goods, the distribution of these resources through approved agencies and leveraging networks to advocate on behalf of the affected countries.
  3. Denominations and church networks: These structures should seek to work alongside their partner structures within the affected communities supporting their work through financial, logistical and pastoral support.

 

CHURCH COMMENDS CONCOURT RULING

SACC header1

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

South African Council of Churches

Bishop Malusi Mpumlwana, General Secretary, SACC.

31 March 2016

CHURCH COMMENDS CONCOURT RULING

JOHANNESBURG: The South African Council of Churches (SACC) is encouraged by the ruling from the Constitutional Court on Thursday 31 March, which has served to restore the faith of the people in the constitutional integrity of our nation, and goes a long way towards upholding accountability in the Office of the President.

The highest court in the land has, today, delivered a devastating judgement on the constitutional and moral conduct of the President, the National Parliament and the leadership of the Speaker. In any normal democracy the State President would go before the nation tonight and announce his resignation. But then we are not a normal democracy.

Yet today every South African, regardless of race, religious or political affiliation, can confidently say that there is no individual at any level that can operate above the authority of our constitution. This makes this day both a sad and a happy day – sad that it had to come to this, and happy that the national integrity has been restored by the ConCourt.

In his unanimous ruling, Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng went to great lengths to demonstrate the constitutional requirements of the Office of the President; the National Assembly and Parliament; and the Office of the Public Protector. This, he did, in an effort to emphasize that the pillars that each of these structures is built on, are interwoven with the DNA of the constitution itself. Any deviation by these three structures, from upholding the rules of the constitution, would jeopardise our young and already-weakened democracy.

The ruling therefore brings us closer to attaining a level of respectability as a nation.

From the time that the Nkandla report was issued by the Office of the Public Protector in 2014, the SACC communicated to both President Jacob Zuma and the African National Congress (ANC) leadership (Top 6 collectively and individually), to advise that the funds in question be swiftly returned, in order to steer us away from the constitutional and moral quandary we now find ourselves in as a nation. This counsel was offered on several occasions, and as late as December 2015. We strongly believe that, had the advice been heeded at the time, we could have avoided the intense embarrassment that is currently experienced by the Office of the President and the august body that is the Legislature of our nation. We see this as a crisis of great magnitude for both the President and the National Assembly.

We have additionally observed that there is likely a flaw in the National Assembly electoral system, given the resolution of the National Assembly, now set aside by the ConCourt, that blatantly supported the personal interests the president of the party that lists them for seats in the Assembly. Members of Parliament are meant to represent the interests of the South Africans who voted them into office. However, the actions of the National Assembly point to a complete disregard for the millions of South Africans, in favour of public demonstrations of allegiance to the party president at the expense of the Rule of Law.

This begs the question: is our National Assembly truly representative of the nation? Or has it deteriorated into an ‘individual assembly’, where ‘Honourable’ seats in the house are given by the party hierarchy as deposits into a ‘favour-bank’, from which withdrawals will be made, even at the expense of the Constitution?

Following exactly two years of considerable national strain, we can only hope that President Zuma will act on any shreds of integrity that still remain in the Office of the President, and stand before the people of South Africa, taking ownership of the quagmire he faces, consult with his political advisors and do the Honourable thing in circumstances.

The Nkandla saga is not only a moral dent for the President and Parliament. It is a moral dent for the ANC in government. It surely has a moral duty to remedy this as a matter of urgency. The longstanding values of the party that Luthuli, Tambo and Mandela led would not have allowed for R250 million to be spent by the Treasury in the name of upgrading and securing the home of an individual, in the face of desperate poverty and obscene inequality.

Some of our church leaders are calling on the SACC leadership to formally approach the President and the governing party to request that Mr Zuma’s position be reviewed. While we continue to listen and, like all South Africans, mull over this body blow to our constitutional system of governance, we call on the ANC to seriously take stock of this damage to the country and its integrity. After further thought and consultation, the SACC may pronounce further on these developments.

In the meantime, we have certain minimum expectations of Parliament and the President.

We expect our Parliament, through the Office of the Speaker, to acknowledge the disaster they have occasioned.

We expect our Parliament to urgently take appropriate remedial steps to restore confidence in the oversight role of the institution over the Executive.

Up to now, the President has denied knowledge of the various upgrades to his Nkandla residence, including the building of a kraal (isibaya) for his cattle.

We expect President Zuma’s tune to change.

We expect President Zuma to say that he was at fault.

We expect President Zuma to apologise to the tax-paying citizens of our country.

We expect President Zuma to settle the entire bill that will be presented to him by the national treasury.

Furthermore, we expect President Zuma to call his political advisors together, to determine what the best political options would be, to restore faith to the Office of the President that he occupies.

We do not believe that this is too much to ask, under the circumstances.

ENDS

Notes to Editors:

For more information and interviews:

Khuthalani Khumalo

khuthalani@khaliphani.co.za

084 074 1285