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Therefore, all those who believe are 'priests,' equally elected and equally called and chosen to share in the establishment of God's Reign in the world. Election encompasses more than just a contractual mandate. It is a covenant between the elector and the elected for a specific task and purpose. Election as in the case of servant-hood in the Scriptures is about service and life.

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It is about a re-establishment and a renewal of a community bonded to all life in faithfulness to God. Elections are about being 'chosen and called' and being 'called and chosen' to serve the goals of God's mission of salvation in this world. Contract as distinct from covenant does not embrace the full components of covenant. Often emphasised as the central relation between the elected and the elector it is flawed as contract often excludes and fragments other components of covenant to the detriment of life.

Contract is legal, covenant is both legal and symbolic: it is holistic. In this regard, to be elected into public office requires upholding the covenant and its values of justice, kindness, righteousness, compassion, honesty, and care for the poor. Chosen and called leaders in this framework must therefore be God fearing people of impeccable moral integrity.

The 'chosen and called' leaders will among others exhibit these traits:. Equally, the electors should be faithfully bound to the values of covenant.

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Their inspiration to participate in the choice and the calling of leaders should distinguish between the task prescribed by God's mission and the positions into which leaders are elected, for electors as people are not sovereign in themselves. As people, electors are capable to say "Come, make us gods who will go before us" Exodus 1. For these coming elections and for the duration of the term of government, subject to review, the South African Council of Churches identifies four broad pillars on which its public witness and engagement will be based.

While this distinction is made for purposes of clarity and our praxis in public life, no rigid demarcation between the pillars of this covenant is envisaged, as they are mutually related to one another. Poverty destroys people's dignity.

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Poverty inhibits people's participation in our democracy. Poverty destroys the people's soul and thus the soul of our nation. It is not so much poverty that has become worrisome in our land, but the impoverishment of the millions of our people who are sacrificed by the gods of gold and greed that has become our challenge.

The SACC remains committed to its theological stance to take a preferential option for the poor and marginalized in the outlook, approach and method of carrying out its mission, both in the church and in public life. Poverty should not be viewed as a state of helplessness that can only be transformed by the grace of the powerful. Poor people have their agency and a God-given potential to participate in the transformation of public life. The Programmes and Key Performance Areas of the SACC in the provinces and nationally will continue to be mediated and shaped by the cries and the aspirations of the poor and the marginalized.

The SACC will reinvigorate its contribution toward the search for justice, reconciliation and healing, harmony social cohesion and democratization for life through its Programmes:. The South African Council of Churches, through its Parliamentary Office will step up its advocacy and support for policies that are pro-poor and are oriented for transformation in South Africa such as the Basic Income Grant and the People's Budget Campaign.

South Africa is a better nation than what it was during apartheid rule in many ways. The achievement of political emancipation in South Africa is a great milestone we shall continue to graciously celebrate. South Africans today potentially have a right to speak freely and organize without fear of torture or prosecution. South Africans today are respected on the global stage and have also made invaluable contributions to the fate and numerous challenges that bedevil the African continent. South Africa has enjoyed the longest stable economy. However, all these gains need to urgently translate into the realization of abundant life especially among the:.

The promise of the delivery of services should not be divorced from our covenantal understanding of delivery as servant-hood purposed for salvation. The promise to deliver services, especially to the poor, should be understood as ultimately leading to the deliverance of God's covenantal promises and thus the promise of life in Jesus Christ: I have come that they may have life and have it in full.

Our participation as people of faith in economic matters is based on and informed by the gospel injunction that God desires that all should have life, and life in abundance as it is written in the gospel of John b. This involvement requires a steadfast resolve to side with the marginalised and the poor whenever systems of the world visit exploitation and abuse upon them. We recognise that the struggle for economic emancipation is a monumental challenge against the powerful systems that dominate almost all spheres of life. In our days, the continuing levels of poverty and increasing economic inequalities between the rich and the poor are a clear manifestation of economic injustice.

They sell the righteous for silver, and the needy for a pair of sandals. They trample on the heads of the poor as upon the dust of the ground and deny justice to the oppressed - Amos b-7a. South Africa has a painful past. In dealing with the vestiges of our past we need true healing and reconciliation. The alarming and shocking trends of violence in our country are a manifestation of a violent history we are called to genuinely confront. The connection between high levels of crime and poverty can no longer be discounted. The gap between the rich and the poor has widened during our democratic dispensation and the poor are becoming poorer.

By the same token, the connection between crime and greed needs our fervent attention for the healing of our nation. The eruption of racial violence and now recently, violent attacks against foreign nationals all but summon us to an urgent call to address morbid anger and brokenness in our land. The adoption of this constitution lays the secure foundation for the people of South Africa to transcend the divisions and strife of the past, which generated gross violations of human rights, the transgression of humanitarian principles in violent conflicts and a legacy of hatred, fear, guilt and revenge.

These can now be addressed on the basis that there is a need for understanding but not for vengeance, a need for reparation but not for retaliation, a need for ubuntu but not for victimization. The prevention of the re-enactment of trauma must be prioritised.

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To prevent the re-enactment of the trauma of violence and the loss of the human spirit, dehumanising features must be eliminated in our public life. This ethical framework lies squarely on what Ubuntu means. A focused approach on the following areas is now urgent:.

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  7. The current debilitating state of social disintegration where apathy and detachment continue to fragment people from the norms that guide moral and ethical behaviour, is a spiritual challenge that threatens the very foundations of our democracy and life together. For the cohesion of our nation, the role of leadership is ever important to influence good conduct and moral behaviour.

    In our evolving public life, it is important for all leaders to acknowledge that dissent is part of our democracy and that people are entitled to different views. The need to tolerate one another in public life is a vital need for the healing, reconciliation and the cohesion of the nation. The South African Council of Churches has taken the position to speak against what it calls the "Politics of Disgrace". By "Politics of Disgrace", the SACC is concerned about the disgraceful manner in which public leaders discharge their political responsibilities by both disgracing and discrediting one another in the media and in public.

    Owing to our electoral system, political parties in electing and deploying their personnel in government must be cognizant of their responsibility to South Africa as a country and its standing among other peoples and nations of the world. We pray that political parties will do their utmost best in selecting and deploying men and women who will inspire confidence in the citizenry of our country and the world. The SACC will vehemently challenge intolerance and disgraceful public speech by leaders in public life.

    The South African Council of Churches will promote and develop theologies of Affirmation to foster 'politics of affirmation' and the development of good public leadership. Ubuntu is about community, interconnectedness, and the place of the human being at the centre of our democracy for life. Ubuntu is about human dignity and the harmony of existence with the whole of creation.

    Ubuntu offers us a crucial ethical vision of our public scripts for spiritual vibrancy in a democratic South Africa. The South African Council of Churches calls for the restoration of Ubuntu as a vision for the promotion of human rights and human dignity. The health of our society requires urgently a departure from ills of inferiority and superiority in our human relations and the psyche of our nation.


    The restoration of our lost sense of humanness is an urgent call for the development of a healthy public life of our country. The inculcation of a humane sense of relations amidst anger, violence and self-hate at all levels of our society, acutely so among the poorest of the poor, is equally socially a challenge that needs to be urgently addressed. Tools, norms, values and symbols emanating from the richness of our diverse cultures need to be harnessed to provide us with moral imperatives and values to integrate our society as one nation with a common destiny and life together.

    The importance of education for the provision of knowledge, skills, cultural transmission of values and social integration cannot be overstated. The current state of education in our country is a matter of concern. This includes the state of theological education in our land.

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    The transformation of the education sector within the provisions of our constitution has been rather slow and poses a serious challenge for our spiritual vibrancy and social cohesion. Education was used as a pivotal tool of oppression and became an important site of our struggle for liberation. Microplastics MP can be found worldwide in aquatic ecosystems, reaching from populated to pristine, from marine to freshwater regions.

    The ecological implications of this pollution in the different environmental systems can so far not be estimated. The interaction of MP and microbial communities in marine and freshwater is especially underrepresented in the scientific literature. In the marine environment, these include typical initial colonizers of the family Rhodobacteraceae Dang et al. Following one assumption by Maso et al.

    In , members of the potentially pathogenic genus Vibrio were detected to be abundant on a polypropylene PP particle from the North Atlantic Zettler et al. Studies on Arenicola marina and Mytilus edulis , however, did not reveal a distinct enrichment of potential pathogens on PS Kesy et al. Pioneering studies in the field of MP biofilms reveal that biogeography plays an important role for the composition of MP colonizing communities Oberbeckmann et al.

    Not much, however, is known about the plastic-colonizing processes on a local to regional scale, and a detailed understanding of the factors which are shaping the composition, activity, and potential specificity of MP-associated assemblages is lacking. No investigation of MP-colonization comprised marine as well as freshwater environments, and only very limited previous research enabled a direct comparisons of MP-attached assemblages with those colonizing natural particles, e.

    Our study addressed these knowledge gaps to be able to reliably evaluate the potential of MP to be a vector of distinct microbial assemblages or even pathogens and to better understand the characteristics and dynamics of microbial MP colonizing communities. Our hypothesis was that environmental factors play a major role for the colonization of natural and synthetic surfaces alike, but that a specific plastic-associated microbiome would develop, different from the microbiomes associated with natural particles. We designed an in situ incubation experiment, where PE, PS, and wooden pellets were exposed for 2 weeks at 7 different stations in the coastal Baltic Sea, in the estuary of the river Warnow Rostock, Germany , and in the effluent basins of a WWTP.

    Corresponding water communities free-living and attached to naturally occurring particulate material were sampled as well. The locations covered different environmental conditions along a salinity and nutrient gradient and included different anthropogenic impacts. Station 1 was in Heiligendamm As non-plastic control, wooden pellets were incubated. Considering the different densities of the materials, 54 g of PS, 50 g of HDPE, or 35 g of wood were added to the incubators. To determine whether plastic and wood biofilm communities are unique from surrounding microbial communities, background water samples were collected in triplicate at the end of the 2-week exposure experiment from every station.

    Figure 1. Map section of Northern Europe, with box highlighting sampling area Top , and individual stations Bottom near Rostock, Germany, from the coastal Baltic Sea to the river Warnow.