Warm Greetings from LCCL Secretariat!
The last few months have been eventful in our country. We all watched with horror as
our country was reduced to ashes and utter lawlessness with the looting that erupted
after the arrest of the former state president, Mr Jacob Zuma. One can argue that this
was the worst violence South Africans have ever seen since the end of Apartheid. The
riots claimed more than 340 lives and resulted in extensive damage to infrastructure;
more than 200 shopping centres suffered looting or damage, while 100 malls were
subject to arson attacks, 161 liquor outlets and distributors were damaged, 1,400 ATMs and 90 pharmacies
were damaged and about 300 banks and post offices were vandalized. In addition, 40,000 businesses and
50,000 traders were affected overall, while stock worth R1.5 billion was lost and 150,000 jobs were stated
to be at risk. The damage to KwaZulu-Natal’s economy alone is estimated to be R20 billion and estimated
losses suffered by the province of Gauteng are at R3.5 billion meanwhile these damages could cost a loss of R50
billion to South Africa’s national economy.
Much of the unrest is said not to have been driven by direct political issues, but was instead driven by the
country’s long-term challenges of poverty, inequality and unemployment. Unemployment is measured at
34.4%, which is the highest globally amidst the worsening pandemic crisis and as a direct result of the deadly
unrests and looting that gripped the country.
Around the same time, Eswatini was also experiencing
violent protests which were calling for democratic reforms in the country.
As Church and Religious, these unrests left us feeling uncomfortable and unsure as to what to do about the
situation. The LCCL(SA), in conjunction with Radio Veritas called for a day of prayer for the two countries on
17th July for healing and an end to the violence. The intervention was well received, most people felt healed
by this gesture as it gave them an opportunity to get in touch with the pain and to release it. Members were
further invited to intensify their prayers for an end to this violence. Noble as our intervention might have
been, the question is, was that enough? As Religious, we are called to be prophetic and the question is, how
prophetic were we in response to this situation?
During the Apartheid years, the Church, and Religious were known to be the voice of the voiceless. I
remember stories of some of my own Religious sisters who were staunch ANC members (Some of you might
remember Bernard Ncube who became a Parliamentarian). Some of the sisters suffered incarceration
because of their participation in the fight against Apartheid. I cannot help but ask myself, what has silenced
the voice of the Church? As Religious we are called to respond to the signs of the times and the question
remains, how are we responding to these times of Covid 19 with high joblessness, poverty and inequality?
How can we as Religious and as Church today carry out our mandate of being prophetic witnesses during
these unprecedented times? The Executive is formulating a response/action plan in a bid to respond to these
Social Justice/economic issues. If you have ideas on how we can remain prophetic as Religious and as Church
during these times, you are welcome to share those ideas with the Executive through the Secretariat. May
God bless our beautiful country as we navigate our way through this maze of unprecedented events.
Sr Nkhensani Shibambu CSA, President LCCL(SA)
CATHOLIC CARE FOR CHILDREN INTERNATIONAL (CCCI) – From Institution to a family and community based
CCCI is a new Project from the International Union of Superiors General (UISG). The vision of CCCI is to create
a world where every child grows up in a safe, loving family or supportive community. It aims to help religious
men and women involved with care of the child to read the signs of the times and thus respond accordingly
by providing the best care to children, to reduce reliance on institutionalisation, and to encourage family
and community based care. Children for one reason or another, are removed from their parental care or
when orphaned and or abandoned would be placed in foster care or be put up for adoption and in other
instances, be placed in a children’s home. The aim of CCCI is to promote de-institutionalisation which is
about moving such children from institutions back to their families and to stop new ones from coming in.
It is said that 80% of the children in our institutions in Africa, have family members and or parents and that over 6000
catholic sponsored child care institutions are in the Global South. The CCCI Movement says placement in a
facility should not be the first option but should be the last option. There has been extensive research conducted
into the impact of institutionalized care on the development of a child. This research indicates that
institutionalisation has a negative impact on the development of the child. This global movement aims to
bring this awareness to all those who work in this space. Religious conferences in the African region have
started this movement and hence the need for us to join in the movement.
As LCCL(SA), we were approached by CCCI last year to begin the conversation around de-institutionalisation
of our facilities. Several meetings were held with the UISG – CCCI where the objectives of the project were
outlined and upon further reflection, the Executive committee took a resolution to join the movement. This
was brought to the AGM in March 2021 where the Executive was given a mandate to further engage on the
matter with the UISG. More meetings were held with the UISG and subsequently with GHR Foundation who
is the funding partner for the project to explain the project in detail. From these meetings, the Executive is
of the view that participation in this venture will be beneficial to the members and the country as a whole..
What are the implications of our participation in this venture?