Prayers for peace, harmony

THOUSANDS of congregants and religious leaders braved the chilly, rainy weather to pray for peace and the eradication of poverty in KwaZulu-Natal.

Inter-faith leaders and their members gathered at Qokololo Stadium in uMgungundlovu for a provincial prayer day yesterday.

The day was also used to introduce provincial executive council members. Congregants prayed for peace and an end to crime and diseases in the province.

Premier Zweli Mkhize said the government convened the prayer day in collaboration with the religious leaders of various faiths to demonstrate the government's desire to foster a spirit of partnership between leaders of various faiths and the government.

He said the government had embarked on a campaign to fulfil the mandate given to it by the electorate and to do that they needed continuous support and prayers from the churches.

"This arises from our deep conviction that the leaders of various faiths have a very strong contribution to make to the improvement of the lives of the people," Mkhize said.

"We acknowledge the fact that the government will not be able to satisfy the needs of the people on its own and without extending a hand of partnership to other stakeholders in broader civil society."

Mkhize said the peaceful, free and fair elections in the country had also been a huge boost for democracy in Africa.

"Had we had violence and an electoral processes riddled with massive irregularities and unfairness, we would have set a bad example for other African states still struggling to ensure that democracy takes root within their borders," he said.

Anglican Bishop Emeritus Matthew Makhaye said: "Our responsibility is to support you, not only today but throughout your term of office.

"In anything you do you must remember that on your own you cannot conquer this world. God is your only source strength and inspiration."

The province will host a conference on October 9 to share views and ideas on how to defeat Aids and TB.

About 1800 government l , religious and traditional leaders and members of civil society have been invited.