Interfaith working group gets off the ground

Friday, February 6, 2015

By More Matshediso

Pretoria - President Jacob Zuma has officially opened the first Presidential Interfaith Working Group meeting at the Union Buildings in the capital city.

The convening of the meeting on Friday comes after President Zuma announced in the Presidency Budget Vote Speech, last year, that he would set up various working groups to promote a closer working relationship with key sectors of society.

The President said this was a major step in building the country and taking forward the fight against poverty, unemployment and inequality.

“The purpose of the working group is to create a platform for us to join hands and work together to implement the vision for our society, as outlined in the Freedom Charter and the National Development Plan (NDP).

“I have convened this meeting of the Interfaith Working Group so that together we can discuss the issues that we think the group should address and the role we believe it can play in promoting the mission of building a united, non-sexist, non-racial and prosperous society,” said the President.

Today’s inaugural Interfaith Working Group meeting will discuss the operations and focus of the group. It is also expected that the religious leaders will be briefed by Minister in The Presidency Jeff Radebe on the outcomes of the Cabinet Lekgotla and preparations for the State of the Nation Address (SONA) taking place on 12 February.

The President convened the Cabinet Lekgotla from Tuesday to Thursday, which discussed the priorities of the year that will form part of the programme of action for 2015.

The Presidency said government priorities will be announced during SONA.

President Zuma praised the faith-based sector for being at the forefront of the struggle to realise the Freedom Charter. He said religious leaders played a sterling role in liberating South Africa.

He commended the faith-based sector for its continued role in developing society, bringing together people and instilling the important values of respect, caring, compassion and selflessness.

“Many religious leaders alert us when there are child headed households, orphans and vulnerable children, the sick and the poor in their communities so that government can intervene,” said President Zuma.

He said he looked forward to a strong partnership between government and the faith-based community. -

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