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Thursday, 20th February 2014 I For immediate release
The Salvation Army has called for tolerance and calm during electioneering, reminding South Africans of the need to act with dignity and restraint.
The Church also called on voters to use the period prior to the elections on 7 May to prayerfully consider how their vote can help build a just and equitable society for all.
Major Carin Holmes, PR Secretary for the Southern Africa Territory of The Salvation Army, said that tensions are already rising in the country around the upcoming elections.
“We are disturbed at the rising number of service delivery protests that degenerate into violence, as it would be deeply distressing if electioneering ended up with people being killed or injured and property damaged,” she said.
As electioneering in the country gets into gear with the announcement by the President of the election date, The Salvation Army reminded all voters that they have a responsibility to exercise their votes for the good of their fellow citizens.
“This means that all citizens who are eligible to vote should register to do so and use their right to vote,” Major Holmes said.
She noted that it is still possible to register until the date of the election is officially proclaimed by the President, at which time the voters’ roll will be closed. Until this date, South Africans can still register to vote at an office of the Independent Electoral Commission.
She added: “South Africa has travelled a long and difficult road to get to the point where everyone has the democratic right to vote. Failing to register as a voter, or withholding your vote, is to be uncaring about your future, that of your children, or that of your fellow citizens.
“In spite of the progress made over the last twenty years since the first democratic elections, many underprivileged South Africans still lack their basic human right to decent housing, water, education, health care, safety and security, as is evidenced by the many service delivery protests we are witnessing at this time.
“In getting ready to place our crosses on the ballot box on 7 May, we need to prayerfully consider which of our political parties is most able to bring about the improvements in the lives of the underprivileged in our society,” Major Holmes said.
She said that many Christians would use the period in the run-up to Easter to reflect on their lives, and that some would fast during this period as a way of listening to God’s voice.
“As we approach the elections on 7 May, we need to listen carefully to God’s voice as to how we should vote.”
She noted, however, that the prophet Isaiah rejected the kind of fasting in which people bowed their heads and lay on sackcloth and ashes, while still allowing injustice, oppression and hungry to exist.
“Isaiah says: ‘Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen: to loose the chains of injustice and untie the cords of the yoke, to set the oppressed free and break every yoke? Is it not to share your food with the hungry and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter – when you see the naked, to clothe him, and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood?’ With that kind of fasting, says Isaiah, ‘your light will break forth like the dawn’,” Major Holmes said.
Carin A. Holmes
Territorial Public Relations Secretary
The Southern Africa Territory of The Salvation Army encompasses four countries – South Africa, Namibia, Lesotho and Swaziland – and the island of St Helena. Its officers, soldiers and full-time employees provide their spiritual and community services through approximately 230 corps (churches), societies and outposts, as well as through schools, hospitals, institutions for children, street children, the elderly, men and abused women, and daycare, goodwill, rehabilitation and social centres.
ISSUED BY QUO VADIS COMMUNICATIONS ON BEHALF OF THE SALVATION ARMY
Media Contact: Ruth Coggin
Click here to e-mail Ruth
Client Contact: Major Carin Holmes
Public Relations Secretary
Click here to e-mail Carin