Celebrating the Work of Justice & Peace in Witbank Diocese
By SACBC Justice & Peace – Father Linda Protas Zwane, the diocesan chaplain of Witbank diocese, shares some of the work that they are doing:
“Since I was appointed a Chaplain for Justice and Peace towards the end of 2019 I attended a workshop organised by the National Office and planned to revive the Diocesan structures. Covid-19 happened and everything has been put on hold. In the meantime, we have managed to actualise some programs and activities.
The Tavern Ministry had to stop due to Lockdown regulations. We hope to resume as soon as life gets to the new normal.
During the Lockdown we embarked on a food drive, a grocery drive, a clothes drive and a soup kitchen. We managed to realise these programmes with the help of the parish and a local bakery. We distributed these items to people living at the dumping site, the Informal settlements and the locals who are in need and to those who are on drugs. We did this every day of the week during winter and we reached quite a good number of people.
In September we organised a round table discussion with the local Mayor, The Municipal Manager, The Speaker and the MMC, and other stakeholders on the SACBC’s letter on Corruption. This was a successful event which led to a discussion on local service delivery issues.
We continued with our advocacy on Albinism and GBVF (Gender-based violence and femicide). These issues are rife in this part of the world as we are a corridor between Gauteng, Eswatini and Maputo. We decided to pick up one GBVF case in court and follow it from start to end as advised by the National Office. This helps in getting an in-depth understanding of the source of such ills, and it gives a wider perspective on the matter. This will take off properly after the Lockdown as the courts do not allow enough numbers in their courts yet.
We also started and advocacy for people who were evicted from the dumping site to make way for a new mine. They were given no alternative accommodation. Some of you should have the programme on Channel 161. We await the outcome.
We are presently in the middle of a cleaning project, trying to implement and to conscientise the community on issues of Environmental Justice. We have invited different churches and faiths, together with the community, the response has been good so far and the cleanliness has improved. We enjoy good support from the EMalahleni Municipality.
In all of these projects we have noticed that we are killing many birds with one stone. Working together with other churches and faiths, and the whole community, we forge good relations. We get to know one another and improve the respect and regard we need to have for one another. We work with the Municipality, Caritas, The Fraternalss, MRM ( Moral Regeneration Movement).
Justice and Peace has become a good light to the community and the impact it has on society is becoming visible. At present we are working the National Office in identifying coal miners who work underground for 10 years and more, trying to assist them with testing and helping them in opening a class case for them to receive just and equitable compensation.
We are looking forward to reviving J&P structures in the diocese in 2021.
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