BRIEF OFFICE UPDATE SINCE 14TH FEBRUARY 2017 – Re Engagement in Forums
Tshwane Ecumenical Forum
Two Forum meetings have been held recently on 22nd February and 28th March. At the first meeting there was a good discussion with Mr. Sakkie du Plooy who has been MMC for Health and Social Development since the August election. He outlined action plans for Struben St. Shelter and was keen to work in partnership with the Tshwane Homeless Forum where Catholic Church is represented. Unfortunately, he was no longer responsible for Social Development but promised to introduce us to the MMC asap. While we were gathered for the Homeless Forum meeting on 30th March word came through that the City Council has approved the Policy re Homelessness which was agreed between partners (UP, UNISA, THF, CoT)in October 2015. This was really good news and all were encouraged to write to thank the Mayor and urge him to announce this within his State of the City address…..and he did so!
The Ecumenical Forum is planning an inter-church prayer for the Church Unity Octave around Pentecost. This will begin with exchange between the Lutheran and the Catholic churches in the inner city. Other challenges were also discussed and it was agreed to take time to reflect and share at greater depth at our meetings.
Sub- committees/groups from the Tshwane Ecumenical Forum
One of the sub-groups meets at St. Wilfrid’s Hatfield to share concerns and hopes regarding University matters. On 2nd and on 28th March this group met. Vuyo Jack gave a presentation on 28th March. He has a positive proposal regarding the funding of education and has given this presentation in several places. All seems calm at many universities but unclear what’s beneath the surface.
Another sub-group met on 14th and 28th March regarding the recent outbreaks of xenophobia in various parts of Tshwane. The purpose of these meetings was to try to see if pastors/church people could be more proactive and not simply react when trouble starts. So far information has been shared but no clear plan of action has emerged.
Some work on aspects of Development
Srs. Christine and Marian visited five pre-schools and one crèche in Dennilton area and one crèche in Saulsville to follow up on a survey which Carmel Bardwell finalised in January. Part of the purpose of the visits is to encourage all to work on a Child Protection Policy and to put in place a written Lease Agreement for the use of church property ensuring that insurance etc is in place. Several other places are to be visited in the coming months.
Work with asylum seekers and refugees
Currently Sr. Marian works with seven women and their families – 28 members in total. It is a struggle to find a positive way forward, to place children in schools etc.
Workshop on Dilemma of Implementation of International Migration Policy
Xaveri SA together with the office of the City Manager, Democracy Development and Citizen Relationship will hold workshop with key stakeholders on the “Dilemma of Implementation of International Migration Policy”. These include among others Department of Home Affairs (DHA), Concerned Tshwane Residents and representatives of migrant communities. The main aim of the workshop is to facilitate the understanding and smooth implementation of international migration policy of refugees into the socio-economic, religious and cultural mainstreaming in the City of Tshwane.
Youth Synod of 2018 with the Pope and Bishops of the world
Xaveri SA has administered the survey questionnaire in the following six parishes: St Mary’s, St Daniel Comboni, St Raphael, St Martin De Porres, St Augustine and St Peter Claver within the Eastern Deanery – to assist the church and the youth to discuss the situations of youth and faith and their expectations of the church. This was done through focus groups and is on-going, it is envisaged that six parishes within the six deaneries will be covered to provide a comprehensive view. The information collected will assist the church in ensuring that young people are at the forefront of the discussion leading up to the Synod and even within the Synod.
Mini-Youth Convention: Durban
Xaveri SA is exploring possibilities of sending 20 refugee youth to the upcoming Mini-Youth Convention to be held in Durban from the 3rd to 10th December 2017.
Report submitted by Martin Mande and Sr. Marian 25th April 2017