Bid to Address Social Problems

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BYLINE: AZIZ HARTLEY

THE Western Cape's religious leaders have launched a forum to unite them in the fight for the moral regeneration of the province.

The interim executive of the Western Cape Religious Leaders Forum (WCRLF), launched yesterday at the Samaj Centre in Athlone, includes the heads of most major religious groups, Ihsaan Hendricks, Alan Boesak, Njongonkulu Ndungane, Matthew Liebenberg and Guru Krishna.

The forum's objectives include helping the provincial government solve social problems such as drug abuse and violence against women and children. Two interim committees will run the organisation until its first general meeting next year.

Said Hendricks, of the Muslim Judicial Council: "This is an opportunity for all religious leaders to collectively look at challenges our communities face. As we go on with the programmes, we'll identify the areas that bring challenges for us as leaders. The question of moral values and the decadence we see in our communities are definitely areas we must prioritise."

Anglican Archbishop Ndungane said religious leaders should be the voice of poor and marginalised people. While government and the business sector had roles to play in tackling socio-economic problems, faith-based communities' key responsibility was to give moral and spiritual guidance.

"Religious societies cover every square inch of this province and reach in places government does not. …