Purpose and Programme areas
On the 23rd June 2008 the WCRLF a significant Statement of Intent which articulated clearly the values, principles and role of the organisation.
The WCRLF held a Strategic Planning Session on 26th February 2008 that was facilitated by Daniel Solomons from Mediation and Transformation Practice – the gathering formulated a vision statement which looked to a South Africa culture of creative co-operation and accountability between the religious and all other sectors within a peaceful and moral society. The style of operation was to include workshops, dialogue between faiths, position papers, partnerships, mobilization, training and lobbying.
At this meeting it was decided that programmatic priorities for 2008/2009 would fall under three headings
- Climate Change and Environmental Justice (now labeled Environmental Justice)
- Family, Health and Community (now labeled Family & Community Restoration)
- Values, Rights and responsibilities (now labeled Democratic Rights, Values & Freedom
A commitment was made to go ahead with advertising and interviewing for the position of a coordinator. A number of candidates were interviewed but the appointment could not be made due to the delay in the provincial funding payment.
Addressing the challenge of drugs and substance abuse
On the 10th April 2008 the WCRLF published a statement of concern regarding the utterances of the then Deputy Minister for Safety and Security emphasizing adherence to the Criminal Procedures Act and the Constitutional emphasis contained therein.
On the 14th April the WCRLF was invited to participate in a Provincial Safety Imbizo on Building Safer Schools addressing again the issue of drugs and crime amongst our learners.
On the 15th and 16th April 2008 a significant meeting entitled Religious Stakeholders Uniting against Substance Abuse took place between the WCRLF and the Department of Social Development in order to address the issues of Substance Abuse. The WCRLF issued a media statement on 17th April 2008 calling for greater collaboration cooperative strategies when dealing with drugs and substance abuse.
Campaigning for Children’s Rights
The WCRLF has played a role in the formation of the Western Cape Child’s Rights Advisory Council and is represented at its Council meetings. It is also a member organisation of the Western Cape Anti Corruption Commission.
Pledging support against xenophobic violence
The outbreak of xenophobic violence in May 2008 required a collaborative response at provincial level. The WCRLF was invited by the Chief Police Commissioner to represent the religious sector on the Provincial Safety Forum. Regular reports were made to the Safety Forum regarding the huge contribution the faith community made in the relief and servicing of the 20,000 displaced people in the Western Cape. The broader constituency gathered at the Albow Centre on the 19th June pledging again to be a supportive, mediating presence with all stakeholders. Both the Convenor and the Chairman of WCRLF were called on to assist in the apparent breakdown of communication between City and Province.
Engaging with the electoral commission to promote peace during elections
On the 21st June the WCRLF met with Courtney Sampson from the IEC to discuss the role of the religious sector in the National Elections of 2009. Out of the concerns expressed in that meeting and subsequent meetings the WCRLF played a role in reconstituting the Electoral Code of Conduct Observers commission with 5 of its members acting as commissioners and was represented through its convenor on the National Steering Committee of the Election Monitoring Network which trained and deployed hundreds of Election Monitors throughout the country. This work contributed significantly to the peaceful outcome of the April elections.
Jewish and Muslim leaders demonstrate leadership and unity over Gaza crisis
One sign of healthy interfaith relationships was the immediate response of religious leaders to the Gaza Crisis in December 2008. Jewish and Muslim leaders immediately sat together with the broader religious leadership and with good will and respect sought to understand the military action, the political motivations and implications. A media release was agreed upon on 15th January 2009.
As the religious leadership of South Africa moves ahead with the process of establishing the National Charter of Religious Rights, the WCRLF has been represented in the discussion forums and will monitor the process as the Charter moves towards the stage of legislation.
In February 2009 the WCRLF attended the NRLF/NASRAD conference in Port Elizabeth in which the Government once again made it clear that in Early Childhood Development the faith community was their best partner.
Currently WCRLF is engaged with the debate of prostitution and considering the proposed legislation and is working with the South Africa Law Reform commission.
Religious participation in the FIFA 2010 World Cup hosted by South Africa
The WCRLF engaged with FIFA 2010 during the World Cup hosted by South Africa regarding the religious participation in the inaugural events and the provision of support services at the stadium and fan parks of the Western Cape. The programme steered by the religious sector will form part of the main cluster areas of the Department of Social Development. The religious theme will to be top promote a message of welcome and hospitality to the visitors and to share our culture of diversity and tolerance.
It is clear that the WCRLF has already made a contribution to social capital and social cohesion in the Western Cape and with support from the Province and from its own constituent members the structure promises to continue to have significant impact.
The following programmes, and task teams have been identified to respond to the challenges facing the Western Cape province, and South Africa.
Written by Fr John Oliver, WCRLF Convenor, 2009
Over time the following programmes, and task teams have been identified to respond to the challenges facing the Western Cape province, and South Africa.
Task Team: Rashied Omar, Edwin Arrison, Mickey Glass
In partnership with the Money and Politics Project (MPP)
Task team: Derek Mtsolo, Khaya Maseko, Xola Skosana, Elizabeth Petersen. Meets with City officials to form the Church Site Steercom.
In partnership with WCCMA and CoCT
Task Team: Mickey Glass, Lester Hofman, Xola Sksana, Tahirih Matthee, Elizabeth Petersen and the ECCOC team.
In partnership with IEC and Civil Society.
Protection of State Information Bill R2K Campaign
Task Team: Alan Storey, Abdul Khaliq Allie
In partnership with ISS and R2K Campaign
Task Team: Craig Stewart, Bridget Scobel, Elizabeth Petersen
In partnership with the Social Justice Coalition (SJC)
Task Team: Felicity Harrison, Nomfundo Walaza, Terry Crawford Brown
Cyber Watch Project
Task Team: In partnership with Film and Publication Board
Safety on the roads
Task team: Abdul Khaliq Allie, Noel Rucastle, Elizabeth Petersen
In partnership with the Department of Transport and Safely Home Campaign
Social Unrest and Disaster Management
Task Team: Craig Stewart, Alan Storey, Bishop Hansrod
In partnership with Civil Society
Gender equity, domestic violence and 16 day programme
Task Team: Elizabeth Petersen, Barry Isaacs,
In partnership with SAFFI
Task team: Nigel Crawhall, Tahirih Matthee, Kate Davies
In partnership with SAFCEI