Several countries in Africa, this year, have elections. South Africans will go to the polls on 8 May, and the country’s Bishops are calling on citizens to vote for men and women of integrity.
“We pray that the upcoming Elections will constitute a further step both in bringing about the kind of society God desires for us and in giving us leaders, men and women of integrity who will build that society.
Twenty-five years after the memorable elections of 1994, we celebrate that we have been able both to defend and to develop our democracy. We are grateful to good and honest people who have worked heroically and selflessly in the service of the nation. We are thankful also that the foundational institutions of our democracy have stood the test of time,” reads the letter released to Vatican News.
Choose the direction for our country
The Bishops decry corruption and the betrayal of public trust in the country’s political and corporate sector.
“Sadly, we have also come to see a darker side of political life. Recent Commissions of Enquiry have and are exposing individuals in both the political and corporate sectors who have tragically betrayed the public trust and placed their own self-interest ahead of the common good of the country.”
They add, “The General Election of 8 May presents all South Africans with the opportunity to renew our vision for South Africa. We have the power to choose the direction our country will take. It is imperative that we choose wisely and courageously and not be distracted by false promises,” affirm the Bishops.
Tough questions that seek honesty and truth
In guiding the people to vote wisely, the Bishops ask the electorate to interrogate their consciences and consider leaders who would promote the good of all especially the poor.
“In this context, we ask you: who do you think would – eradicate corruption more effectively; provide realistic programmes to overcome unemployment and poverty? Appoint selfless public servants as leaders at the national and provincial level? Effectively reduce the level of violence tyrannising our people? Transform those attitudes and practices which underlie the violence against women and children? Respond effectively to the aspirations of our youth? Fulfil the promises they make rather than disappoint us? Protect our democracy and its institutions?” The Bishops say.
The Bishops further challenge South Africans not to vote according to personal interests, interests of race, ethnic group or social and economic class.