The basic premises of this study is that the poor people should not be manipulated by the rich and powerful for their selfish end. Though they are poor, they are God’s people and God loves them as well. Growing up in the poor rural areas of Herschel, the researcher was the victim of apartheid laws at an early age. He experienced the pangs of hunger and on many occasions was tempted to steal. As a small boy he had many unanswered questions, when he saw white boys of his age being well fed, clad, and staying in beautiful homes. Later as a minister, working with Rev. S.R. Kumalo, in Ivory Park informal settlement, the researcher was touched by the plight of the poor living in shacks. In 2001 he was stationed in the neighbouring Olievenhoutbosch informal settlement. Here he was confronted with circumstances that perpetuated poverty among the poor, such as lack of job opportunities, no formal school buildings, sports facilities that keep the youth away from crime, no sites for churches, shops, clinics and police station. The people felt neglected and betrayed by the very government they voted for in 1994 and 1998. The government has failed to fulfill the promises made then. The poor even question the existence of God, as poverty in this area is absolute. If God does exist, as far as they are concerned, he has either forgotten them, or turned his back on them. Caring for the poor was a major challenge to the researcher. He had to study and acquire skills of empowering and liberating the poor from their morass. The researcher used Gerkin’s biblical traditional method of shepherding God’s people, as used in Old Testament times. He also applied Masango’s liberation theology as a way out to freedom from bondage of oppression. The researcher also identified five forms of poverty that affects the poor people of Olievenhoutbosch, but emphasis is zeroed on economic poverty, as it affects all their spheres of life. The daily struggle of the poor here is how to keep the body and soul together. The economic poverty has resulted in other evil repercussions, such as prostitution or sex work, which in turn leads to wide spread of pandemic HIV/AIDS, crime such as house breakings, car hijackings and general robbery, are on the increase. The poor are neglected by the politicians and the rich. Every time during political campaigns the politicians remember that there are people to be addressed in Olievenhoutbosch, they visit them. After elections the politicians disappear to come back again when there is the next political campaign. The researcher views this as the manipulation of the poor by the powerful for their own selfish ends. The researcher has included the stories of the poor to back up their suffering after being used as pawns by the politicians. As means of healing the poor people of Olievenhoutbosch informal settlement, the researcher has recommended some pastoral care guidelines. The poor must be encouraged to re-evaluate and come out of their state of inertia and start to live a new life. They must be empowered to use their voting power to change their circumstances and lives. They must end their exploitation through their sheer numbers. The lesson of liberation will also focus on the powerful as they are the victims of greed and power hungry. Nobody can really be happy and live comfortably when the neighbor is starving and unhappy. The boycotts and marches taking place recently in the townships are a sign that the masses can no longer tolerate their sufferings, and unfulfilled promises. In concluding this study the researcher has suggested the way forward for pastoral care-givers. He has further suggested some researches that need to be done. At the end of this study the researcher also became aware of his own weaknesses, which are his personal ongoing struggles and challenges that must be subdued in the new democratic South Africa.
Dissertation (MA(Practical Theology))--University of Pretoria, 2007.