The Justice and Peace (J&P) annual general conference was recently held at Holy Angels, Bez Valley.
Head of J&P Department, Joseph Dube, asked: “Are we transforming the lives of people we live with in our communities? “At the end of every Mass we are not just given a blessing, but commissioned to transform society, just as Jesus did,” he said
Joseph went on to borrow words from Thomas Sankara, “We cannot carry out fundamental change without a certain amount of madness … it took a madman of yesterday for us to be able to act with extreme clarity”.
“Justice and Peace groups should be among those mad men so that the church today can act with extreme clarity,” he said.
J&P field organisers Brian Mooi, Jacob Sebidi and Charmaine Khawula presented the reports.
The following were focused on:
- Good governance – the focus was on local government elections. J&P was the only Catholic institution accredited with the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC). Other dioceses in the country had to register with J&P and J&P, in turn, register them with IEC to be observers. There were over 300 observers, 98 of which were from the Archdiocese.
- Gender-based violence – in support of the 16 Days of Activism of No Violence against Women and Children, the department initiated the Orange Doek campaign. So far, 2 021 doeks have been distributed in the Archdiocese with a few in Witbank diocese. This campaign is linked to the United Nations Orange Campaign. It is a way of showing solidarity and support of survivors of gender-based violence. J&P is running the campaign with another Catholic organisation, Parks Christi in the Philippines. The doeks are made by the migrant and refugee women from Bienvenu Shelter.
- Air emissions – the air quality in the Vaal is getting worse at the expense of people’s health. There is a need for radical intervention to address the issue of air quality. The set-offs ,which are supposedly meant to help the community, are dividing it.
The presentations also covered illegal dumping, water and energy and mine dumping.
- Going forward”, Joseph said, “We need to go back to our deaneries and prepare for the 2018 – 2020 project cycle.”