STATEMENTS OF THE SYNOD OF BISHOPS ON THE SITUATION ON SOUTH AFRICAN UNIVERSITY CAMPUSES
“You are the salt of the earth… You are the light of the world. Let your light so shine before people that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.” – Matthew 5: 13-16
The Synod of Bishops of the Anglican Church of Southern Africa, assembled in Benoni from February 20 to 24, reflected on the state of education in South Africa with specific regard to the disruptions of the educational process arising from the protests over university fees, curricula and the living conditions, transport problems and safety of students which have formed part of the #FeesMustFall, #Decolonized Education and similar campaigns.
The 2017 academic year
The Synod of Bishops applauds the efforts of students, university management teams and the National Education Crisis Forum to save the academic year at the end of 2016. We pray God's blessings over the 2017 academic year and beyond.
Civil society involvement
The Synod acknowledges and wishes to encourage the tremendous work of civil society through the South African Council of Churches, the Higher Education Parents Dialogue (HEParD) and the National Education Crisis Forum, and of the business community and political parties in certain areas, in engaging with government, university managements and students in seeking to normalise life on campuses while at the same time addressing the real and urgent problems which #FeesMustFall and #Decolonised education activists have brought to the fore.
The responsibilities of students
We acknowledge the right of students to protest over issues about which they feel strongly. At the same time we plead with them to find and maintain constructive ways of making themselves heard without resorting to violence or destructive action. We urge them to accept the responsibility for facilities on their campuses which accompanies a sense of being co-owners of their institutions.
The responsibilities of university managements
We plead with university managements to adopt a deep listening posture in response to student unrest, and to work with students to find creative solutions to the pressing issues with which we are confronted. While we are grateful for those campuses which have returned to normality, we are deeply concerned at the presence of police and increased numbers of security personnel on a number of campuses. This militarised presence kills dialogue and serves to deepen polarisation between students and management. In doing so, it induces a false sense of calm on those campuses, which conceals the potential for renewed violent confrontation. We therefore also call on university managements to withdraw the police and to scale back to normal levels the presence of security guards on campuses.
The Government's responsibility
Whilst we commend efforts by government to address the tertiary education crisis, we feel it is at times overwhelmed by it and we would like to see government, especially the Minister and the Department of Higher Education and Training, play a more pro-active role in addressing it. We strongly urge the government to seek more creative ways of providing more resources for education, and in particular of creating a “free funding model” for tertiary education – including provision for high earners and companies to contribute to the costs of that education – so that students do not have to graduate with crippling levels of debt. We acknowledge the Minister of Finance's allocations for tertiary education in his budget and we appeal for further tangible commitments and timelines for increased funding.
We call the church to prayer and action to help all parties involved to develop a new vision for the future of education in our land, a vision which will guide us in finding a long-lasting solution to the challenge of giving all our children, especially those living in material poverty, access to a good education which enables them to realise their God-given potential.
Benoni, February 2017
WELCOMING NOTE FROM THE ASF PROVINCIAL PRESIDENT 2016/17
Receive warm greetings in the name of the trinity; the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.
2016 has been quiet a hectic year. It came with a lot of challenges that needed us as both students and Christians in the Anglican Church to stand up and be vocal about a lot of things. As conquerors in the Lord, here we are in 2017, still standing strong with no doubt that God has gone before us and cleared the paths of 2017.
We remember the soldiers in Christ that we lost last year; Thabiso Rafutho and Lungile Williams. May their souls continue resting in peace. Their contributions in the Church made a difference, however, God needed them more than we did and we believe they are at a better place.
We continue to pray for Bonginkosi Khanyile who is still in jail as a result of the #Feesmustfall protest and we deeply commend his bravery to stand firm in what he believes in. Not forgetting every single student and priest who took part in this movement, to create peace and a safe protest. May we continue praying for God’s intervention in this matter and for His grace and mercy that is sufficient for all of us.
Recruitment is a process that should not be taken for granted. It is done in order to grow and sustain the federation for future leaders. ASF has been in existence for almost 57 years and we wish for it to succeed for many more years, shaping spiritual leaders for our country. To the fresh additions to our organisation, may God bless you on the new journey that you have just embarked on. May you feel the warmth and love that Anglican Students’ Societies bring, in your respective regions. This is an exciting journey and you have a ‘home away from home’ behind you, cheering you on to greater heights.
The Provincial Executive Committee would like to wish everyone a blessed and fulfilling 2017. Greater opportunities await us in this new year. 2016 was a year where we waited on the Lord but now He has renewed our strengths so we can soar high like Eagles, no matter what may come our way. This is the year of greatness, take charge.
Yours In Christ
The Comission on the Status of Women (CWS),
is a body that aims at empowering women and promoting equality between men and women. It is part of the Anglican Communion and annually, a conference is held at the United Nations, New York with delegates from all over the world to discuss the progress and gaps on gender equality.
Proudly, the Provincial president of ASF Mrs Maupi Letsoalo was apointed as one of the delegates from the Anglican Church of Southern Africa.
All the conferences have themes and the priority theme for this year’s conference is ‘‘Women’s economic empowerment in the changing world of work’’. Maupi will be in New York from March 10th to March 24th 2017. Surely she won’t be travelling alone… Mrs Lungelwa Makgoba, the Archbishop Thabo Makgoba’s wife will be her chaperone.
‘‘This is a great opportunity for me personally as well as my ministry with the Anglican Students Federation and I feel really blessed that I will be part of the 61st United Nation Comission on the Status of Women (UNCWS 61st)’’
ASF Conference – KZN Mooi-River 2016 Resolutions
Proposer : Naong Moumakwe
Second: Thulani Madlala[GP- MP]
ASF Conference resolve, to send letters of appreciation and thanks to people/ institutions for their support to ASF and their contribution to the success of the 2016 Conference.
Proposer : Tendai Nderera [LIM]
Seconder :Masilo Lephalala [LIM]
• The treasurer should conduct prior auditing as per recommendations of the King’s ()
Resolution 3 /2016
Proposer – Masilo Lephalala (Limpopo)
Seconder - Tebogo Molema[GP - MP]
• PEC should prioritise struggling regions when visiting regions and ANSOC
Proposer: Ayabulela Pinzie (WC)
Seconder: Westridge Sebetlela (GP/MP )
• The 56th Conference of the Anglican Student Federation firmly resolves to support the Theological Sunday by mandating all ANSOCS to contribute to the drive.
• Proposer: Kgothatso Makwane (Gp-Mp)
• Seconder: Alex Nyokong (Gp-Mp)
• Seeing that the P.E.C of 2015/2016 has not shown any support for the request from the previous Organiser and emeritus President to halt the launch of the Gauteng-Mpumalanga regional logo, this conference resolves that Gauteng-Mpumalanga should continue with launching their regional logo.
• Proposer: Kgothatso Makwane (Gp-Mp)
• Seconder: Alex Nyokong (Gp-Mp)
• Noting the challenges reported by the former Provincial G.E.T officers, this conference resolves that the P.E.C should form a task team to assist the Provincial G.E.T in implementing the duties of the office.
• Not passed
• Proposer: Kgothatso Makwane (Gp-Mp)
• Seconder: Alex Nyokong (Gp-Mp)
• Noting the drop out rates due to financial difficulties, this conference resolves that the P.E.C should look into the
feasibility of the A.S.F Bursary Scheme and submit a report on their findings to the conference of 2017.
• Not Passed
• Proposer: Vuyisani Ludidi (Western Cape)
• Seconder: Ayabulela Pinzie ( WC)
• Noting the deliberations that have taken place with lack of clarity on progress of yesteryear’s resolution this conference resolves that resolutions should be separated from the organisation report and deliberated on separately to thoroughly assist the organisation fulfil all its resolution mandated by members
All amendments to the constitution should be submitted to the ASF office 7 days before the day of the conference.
• Proposer: Rev Vernon
• Seconder: Kopano Makololo
• This conference resolves that regional ASF's be granted permission to design their own logo's, provided that it is
approved by both ACSA and ASF.
WOMEN IN LEADERSHIP
Let me start by acknowledging this platform that I am given of talking to young people about leadership issues, more particularly during this June month that is characterised by a rich legacy of leadership that was portrayed by the youth of 1976. It is a general knowledge emanating from such a history and other documented and non, that young people are envisaged to be leaders of tomorrow.
We need to bear in mind that leadership does not necessarily begin during the time whereby you are elected into a position, not just an event, but a process that manifest its several times, characterised by a lot of issues such as behaviour, skills, knowledge, preparedness, maturity, visionary, and many others
Some leaders are born leaders, others are made leaders, there are also those that are possess both of these. My focus is on women in leadership.
The United Nations’ General Assembly resolution in 2011 on Women’s Political Participation reaffirmed that the active participation of women, on equal terms with men, at all levels of decision-making is essential to the achievement of equality, sustainable development, peace and democracy.
We appreciate the efforts taken by government in ensuring that there is representation of women in politics, governance and administration. starting from parliaments to the municipal councils there is a representation of women, however we still believe that the numbers are still low.
It is so much encouraging, to realise that much progress has been made generally in improving the lives of women and giving them opportunities in many areas such as in government, businesses, as well as in churches.
Statistics from S.A Government Communications and Information Systems (GCIS) clearly shows that great strides have been made since 1994 to improve the status of women.
Prior to 1994, the South African Parliament had a mere 2,7% representation of women, and following the first democratic elections, women representation in the National Assembly stood at 27,7%. In 1999 that figure increased to 30% and then to 32.7% in 2004. After the 2009 national elections women representation reached 42%. currently government women ministers comprise 43% of the Cabinet, women deputy ministers make up 46% of the total number of deputy ministers and there is a 41% representation of women in the National Assembly.
Furthermore, government policies and programmes have improved the living conditions of women.
In 1997 the Office on the Status of Women was established in the Presidency to steer the national gender programme and championed the development of the National Policy Framework for Women Empowerment and Gender Equality that was approved by Cabinet in 2000. Subsequently, similar structures were established in the Premier’s offices in all provinces, of which I happened to be directly involved as I was one of those who went to Canada to benchmark on the gender Mainstreaming in 2005.
Subsequent to that a Ministry of Women, Children and People with Disabilities was pronounced as a way of elevating women’s issues and interests to lead, coordinate and oversee the transformation agenda on women’s socio-economic empowerment, rights and equality through mainstreaming, monitoring and evaluation.
Motsamaisi wa dipuisano wa pele Palamenteng ya demokrasi ka 1994 ebile motho wa mme, e leng Mme Frene Ginwala. Le hona jwale motsamaisi wa dipuisano Palamenteng ke motho wa mme, e leng Mme Baleka Mbete. Modulasetulo wa Lekgotla la Naha la Diprofensi (e leng National Council of Provinces) ke mme
Women have the ability to lead, they have been leaders since the beginning of consciousness, this can be substantiated by a mere observation of how they are organised in most essence of life. Moving from their homes, offices, as well as in their societies, they actually represent order and they succeed in most cases.
Women have a significant role in the family in rearing children in a manner that they will understand the ways of the Lord.
Unlike in other forms of society that shows a significant progress in the transformation and affirmation of women in areas of power, the church is still behind in that.
The ordination of women is still a greater challenge than lay leadership, there is still much resistance in affirming women. We hope that with time this will also be looked into.
Women in leadership are more participative and inclusive in nature, there is a say that indicates that (you educate a man you, you educate an individual, but you educate a woman you educate the Nation)
I do believe that this conference towards its end will be in a position to take a resolution that seeks to advocate for the voice of women to be heard and be better represented in most important areas.
However, while we appreciate the strides taken by our government is empowering women, we are saddened by the slow pace of the business sector. According to a recent report released by Grant Thornton, South Africa is falling behind in gender representation in top management, as the number of roles held by women is dropping.
It shows that the percentage of South African women in leadership positions in business is down from last year’s 27% to a below-average 26%.
Another study commissioned in 2015 by the Businesswomen’s Association of SA last year found that women were excluded from key decision-making positions within companies and that the number of women in JSE listed companies was still lacking.
This is the space, which you upcoming young women should invade and push your way to the top.
Even in the church circles, the women’s roles should be more amplified and women should be given a space and chance to the move to the top as priests, bishops and archbishops.
Popular Musician, Beyonce says, “We need to reshape our own perception of how we view ourselves. We have to step up as women and take the lead.”
Programme Director, it is through democratic representation and decision making powers that women’s interests can be represented and their voices heard.
I believe that as women we should advocate for our own empowerment in all the sectors of the society. The empowerment of women requires a sustained effort, Education and capacity building are very much essential in the empowering of women.
Education is one of the most important means of empowering women with the knowledge, skills and self-confidence necessary to participate fully in the development process.
Capacity-building efforts should pay particular attention to the needs of women in order to ensure that their skills and experience are fully used in decision-making at all levels.
Programme Director, we cannot however fail to mentioned that the rise of women to the top is still a bittersweet experience for them in climbing the ladder to the top because while women themselves believe they have what it takes to lead, the patriarchal society still consider a woman a woman, who is not equal to man in any standing. There is generally cultural bias against women.
Women should also learn to support other women who have the ability.
To describe this bittersweet experience for women, I can only borrow from the words of Charles Dickens in his novel, A tale of two cities:
“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times
It was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness,
It was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity,
It was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness,
It was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair…,
We had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way”
The way to the top has its own best times and its own worst times. It demands of us the women to roll our sleeves and take the bull by its horns. Leadership requires self-confidence, self-approval, positive attitude, decisiveness, belief in oneself, high level headedness, forthrightness and outspokenness.
Oprah Winfrey says the only way to deal with sexism is to be excellent. She says: “I was raised to believe that excellence is the best deterrent to racism or sexism. And that's how I operate my life.”
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