Church Leaders in South Africa Urge Youths to Engage Candidates ahead of 2024 Elections

Members of the National Church Leaders’ Consultation (NCLC) in South Africa. Credit: NCLC

Leaders of various Christian denominations in South Africa have urged young people in the country to register for the 2024 elections, and to start engaging those who will be contesting for various political positions in order to understand their values.

In a statement issued Wednesday, November 8, members of the National Church Leaders’ Consultation (NCLC) underlined the importance of understanding the candidates’ key priorities in the country that they said is experiencing “worsening political, economic and social conditions.”

They urged “all eligible citizens, but especially our young people, to register for the 2024 elections, and to engage with all political candidates and parties in a robust way.”

The Church leaders said that in such engagements, those seeking political seats must “clarify their foundational values and key priorities to change the dire and worsening political, economic and social conditions in our democracy.”

The NCLC members further called for “robust participation in South Africa’s upcoming elections, saying “As church leaders we encourage all citizens to register and participate in the coming elections, using the values of the Gospel as a guideline that human dignity, the fundamental equality of all people created in God's image, preference for the poor, the destitute and the marginalized, and life in abundance for all (leaving no one behind) should guide our choices and actions,” NCLC members said.


 “We therefore urge all registered citizens to use their right to vote to ensure that competent, committed to the common good and candidates of integrity will represent them - as real servants of the public good,” the Church leaders said.

They encouraged faith communities to play an active role in the country’s upcoming elections, by utilizing their communication networks and institutional capacity to engage in voter education and the mobilization of voters.

The faith leaders also called on churches to abstain from publicly associating with political parties and giving political candidates platforms to address their congregations.

“No politician should have access to the pulpits in any of our churches in the lead up to the elections,” they said.

“No minister in any of our churches should offer their support for any particular political party,” the NLC members said, and added, “We as churches, being part of civil society, are going to keep elected candidates accountable to their promises, programmes - and monitor progress or lack of progress.”

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They encouraged church leaders to be vigilant in providing the necessary support to ensure free and fair elections.

General elections will be held in South Africa in 2024 to elect a new National Assembly as well as the provincial legislature in each province.

NCLC is an ecumenical body bringing together religious leaders representing the various Christian denominations in South Africa. These leaders address issues of national interest, including possible solutions to the societal challenges.

Jude Atemanke is a Cameroonian journalist with a passion for Catholic Church communication. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism and Mass Communication from the University of Buea in Cameroon. Currently, Jude serves as a journalist for ACI Africa.