Western Cape Religious Leaders Endorse 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 realise 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 emphasise 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
Minister Carlisle applauded Archbishop Makgoba and the Western Cape Religious Leaders Forum for adopting a pro-active and positive stance for road safety.
"This is the strongest possible endorsement that road safety can receive. I'm pleased that the WCRLF will be helping to spread the gospel of road safety throughout the festive season and beyond."
"In the end road safety deals with the sanctity of human life which is a moral issue. When we drive drunk, recklessly, speed or not wear our seatbelts we are involved morally as well as in many other ways."
"This support from the WCRLF is my perfect Christmas gift. It is the most important endorsement Safely Home can have and we will extend it from this festive season across all the years."
"The leaders of our respective faiths are important members of our communities with great capacity to shape the perceptions of our society towards issues like taking personal responsibility for road safety."
"Their support for Safely Home is crucial for the success of our efforts to change the behaviour of reckless motorists to drive safely at all times."
"The government, on its own, cannot win the war against the carnage on our roads without the support of non-government organisations and faith-based organisations in society and the public. It is partnerships like this that will help us prevent avoidable road accidents and fatalities."
"We must all do what we can in our respective capacities to ensure that all road users get Safely Home at all times. If we all do this, we can save dozens if not hundreds of lives during the festive season and beyond" concluded Minister Carlisle.