Wednesday, 15 December 2010

Archbishop and Religous Leaders endorse Safely Home Campaign

This media advisory was issued on 15 December 2010.

Anglican Archbishop and Transport Minister Launch ‘Safely Home’ Road Safety Partnership

Today (15 December 2010), the Most Revd Dr Thabo Makgoba, Anglican Archbishop of Cape Town and Chair of the Western Cape Religious Leaders’ Forum (WCRLF), and Western Cape Transport Minister Robin Carlisle launched a road safety partnership between the Safely Home campaign and the WCRLF.

Minister Carlisle and Archbishop Makgoba were joined by other members of the Western Cape Religious Leaders Forum. The WCRLF issued a statement in support of the Safely Home Campaign. The text of the statement is carried below.

Commenting on the statement, the Archbishop stressed the values of the sanctity of life, and described the commandment to ‘love your neighbour as yourself’ as a basis for behaving considerately towards pedestrians, motorists and other road users. He underlined that this meant no drinking and driving, nor talking on a cell phone while behind the wheel, nor going without a seat-belt, and warned younger drivers against risky dicing. He wished a merry Christmas to those celebrating the birth of the Christ-child, and a peaceful and safe festive season to everyone.

Statement in support of the Safely Home Campaign

The Western Cape Religious Leaders Forum (WCRLF), representing all faith communities in the Province, welcomes the opportunity to support and fully endorse the Safely Home Campaign, initiated by MEC Robin Carlisle and the Department of Transport and Public Works. We pray that their efforts to reduce the tragic loss of life on our roads over this festive season will be successful.

However we realize that this is the collective responsibility of all South Africans. Each of us must ensure that our behaviour on our roads reflects not only the law of the land but our belief in the sanctity of all life. It is the responsibility of every individual to protect and respect the life and dignity of another. Our faith traditions emphasize that all life is sacred and that we are each created in a divine image. Therefore the safety of all South Africans whether drivers, passengers, pedestrians old or young, is of paramount concern.

This ‘season of giving’ should not be tainted by careless, inconsiderate and negligent behaviour which can only result in chaos on our roads and a needless loss of life. This holiday season challenges each of us to be aware of the dangers of alcohol consumption, drug abuse and road rage, all of which endanger our own lives, the lives of our loved ones and the lives of innocent South African citizens.

On behalf of all faith communities we endorse the efforts of the traffic authorities to react as vigorously as possible and call upon all people to co-operate when encountering road blocks, to adhere to traffic regulations and drive with courtesy and consideration at all times. The wearing of seat belts and the checking of vehicles for road worthiness must be the norm.

As people of faith we want to say that life itself is the gift of Christmas. It’s a divine gift that must be received, nurtured and protected. On the roads we hold the gift dangerously in our hands. Almighty Allah says in the Holy Quran: ‘Do not bring destruction upon yourselves through your own hands and do good all of you.’ (Al Baqarah: Q2:195)

Life on our roads is in peril. But we do have a choice. In sacred text God says: ‘I lay before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live.’ (Deuteronomy 30:19)

May we choose well this festive season.

Finally, the Religious Leaders are not trying to pour cold water on the festival spirit. Far from it - we want South Africa to celebrate, we want South Africa to enjoy a time of rest and relaxation, we want our Christian community to enter the full meaning of the birth of Christ, and above all we want reconciliation and reconnection to be experienced in all our families at this time. But we appeal for care, compassion, consideration for others as we strive together for safety on our roads.

May the one God bless South Africa, guard us, guide us, keep us and protect us and bring us all ‘safely home’. Amen

15th December 2010, Cape Town

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