Perseverance and promotion — Lindy-Ann Hopley

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A monthly column bringing you frontline testimonies of what God is stirring up across the globe. By international revivalist Lindy-Ann Hopley, Beautiful Witness Ministries.

Welcome to this month’s article of Global Awakening!

I am so glad you found us here and that we get to rejoice together in what God is doing around the world! A global awakening!

You and I get to be apart of it!

This month I am sharing about and speaking into something very different than usual. Being rather vulnerable and transparent, but I believe and trust that my journey of breakthrough will release courage and faith to accelerate you into the new season God already has pre-planned for your life before the beginning of time!

ABOVE: It’s Time painting gifted to me on Monday evening by South African artist — Ilse Kleyn (www.ilsekleyn.co.za). Scripture reference: Isaiah 60:1 “Arise and shine, for your light has come, and the Glory of the Lord has risen upon you!”

You will see the significance of the painting as you keep reading.

Now is the time to ‘step in and step up’!
You need to persevere in the secret place with God and He will promote you in public to the places He has set out for you!

What I have noticed since I was a young Christian is that many things that I face and pursue breakthrough for on a personal level are soon followed by a corporate similarity. This is like when the prophets in the Old Testament faced something before the whole “tribe” did, and were then able to minister out of their breakthrough to the bigger group now needing it. I believe this is connected to the prophetic breaker anointing many forerunners carry. Perhaps you have noticed something similar in your own life?

It is not always the case. Of course there are small instances that have nothing to do with anybody except you and whoever else might be concerned. But, there are those times when you feel like David facing Goliath on behalf of more than your own survival — that is when you need to pay attention.  It’s similar to receiving a word of knowledge for healing (for instance a slight pain in your body) and you know this is not for you, but for someone else. The key is to discern that this is a matter bigger than me personally.

Persecution and trials
This last month, for me personally, has been a time of persecution and trials galore. The fire of God was bringing many things to the surface, making sure I dealt with some heart issues and refining it till it was shining like gold.

I found myself in tears, realising how many hurts I still had towards the Church, feeling used by her, the lack of financial support, yet with thousands cheering me on via social media, rejection, abandonment and more.

It was as if everything came at the same time! Everything! People messaging me the strangest things, someone putting terrible things on my Facebook wall, people not keeping their commitments — oh and the list went on!

The strangest thing was that their seemed to be no person around to help. I asked some people to pray, but no one was physically available for counsel or coffee.

He was drawing me to Himself
I would pray and pray and do more praying. Forgiving and repenting. Finding resonance with Kari Jobe’s Desert Song – “This is my prayer in the desert, when all that’s within me feels dry… I will bring praise, I will bring praise — no weapon formed against me shall remain”. Go listen if you have a chance.

I would receive crazy dreams about a huge harvest ready to be gathered! I had to walk by faith and not by sight. In the natural everything seemed to be going wrong, but the promises from the Lord were increasing at a rapid pace!

Finally, I declared a fast, went to the hospital to pray for the sick and the hurting (some literally chained to the beds), got together with a friend to take on what needed to be addressed in the spirit realm and took communion.

Everything came back into perspective
It all shifted. In an instant.

I woke up the next morning unopressed. Whatever had been sitting on me was gone! My joy was back. The little foxes dead. Back in the vine. Ready to shine.

No place
When the devil came to Jesus in the desert, the Bible says: “but he could find no place in Him”. Jesus had no wound in His soul the devil could latch onto.

When the 40 days were over the Bible reads : “Jesus, now filled with power,…” – Jesus was catapulted into His calling after receiving the Spirit and overcoming the temptations and accusations against His identity, His call and His inheritance as heir.

The word the Lord gave me in this time
John 14. It starts as follows, “Don’t let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God, and trust also in me”.

Vs 20 “When I am raised to life again, you will know that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you.”

Step into Him
Will you allow God to reveal the wounds in your soul and bring healing to you today?

Just ask Him.

He knew His Father and His call.

What dreams has He given you?
On the Thursday of Easter Weekend I received a vivid dream from the Lord. Bigger than myself. I believe it is a commission for the saints. Both you and I.

The dream: I was part of what seemed to be a group of tourists in the Middle East. Towards the end of the tour I proclaimed if we don’t go swim now we won’t have a chance. I started running towards the ocean. I could see people looking at me — running in public was inappropriate. But I didn’t stop. I ran with an urgency in my heart. When I got to the ocean, I stepped out onto the peer. To my right, on the beach, was a group of women covered in colourful cloth,  sitting under a tree having a religious study time. They were clearly Muslim. Then I looked into the ocean — it was full of thousands and thousands of fish! It seemed that there were too many fish for the ocean; they were starting to come out of the water! I looked back towards the edge of the shore and even large fish were swimming in the shallow end. I thought to myself: “You don’t even have to jump into the water — even if you just put out a fishing net from the side of the shore you will be able to catch big fish!”. There was more, but I will stop there for now.

Dreams followed one after the other. I held on to every promise.

This past Saturday evening I dreamt that I was the singer on a small stage, but the instrumentalist didn’t want to give me the microphone. Then they brought her some deep-fried fish and she did not want to share it with me. I was hungry. I then went into the kitchen backstage and saw huge tables set out at the back with large bowls of the biggest prawns and crayfish tails I had ever seen. It was a feast! In that moment I thought:“I didn’t know our ocean held this!” I went outside to grab a handful of prawns, but as I looked up to see who was sitting around the tables I saw it was only men. I withdrew my hand and went back into the kitchen. “There are only men there!”, I said to someone who was inside. The person sternly said: “Don’t be ridiculous- go out there and eat. It is for you!”

The harvest is ready — are you?
In the world of dreams  the kitchen represents a place of preparation. The time of fighting over scraps in the Church is at an end. It is the time to go out there and reap the harvest which is upon us.

Allow the Lord to do the necessary preparation in the secret place, so that together we can sit at the greatest banqueting table the Lord has prepared.

The end time harvest.

Promotion

The following day…

was my ordination.

It was more special than I ever imagined. It was as if I stepped out of the kitchen into something brand new. An acceleration of promotion in the natural and the spirit realm.

It was glorious!

You are invited to watch here:

We are 🎤🎥 LIVE 🔥⚡️👑 from my home church Journey of Grace in Cape Town🇿🇦. Ordained by heaven in 2007, but now it’s live. On earth as it is in heaven 💜If you want to partner : https://www.beautifulwitness.com/partnerdetailsSouth Africans (for once off or to set up recurring payments) please use :1. SA Bank account (best)Or 2. Zapper. Rest of world 🌎 SA Account for large donations.Moonclerk is in $ (once off / recurring)PayPal: once off only.

Gepostet von Lindy-Ann Beautiful Witness Ministries am Sonntag, 22. April 2018

And in this time God has prompted me to invite people to partner with the Great Commission through Beautiful Witness Ministries.

If you have a heart for the harvest and you want to sow into what God is doing through BWM, consider becoming a monthly partner. No matter how big or how small we appreciate your generosity. The fields are ripe.

Will you make a knot in the net with us?

We need you.

You can do so by clicking here to view different ways: https://www.beautifulwitness.com/partnerdetails

Use our SA account to setup a recurring payment with your bank.

Thank you!

God has the same for you!

I believe you are on the edge of breakthrough!!!

I charge you to stand! Hold steadfast to your faith. Spend time with Abba. What has He spoken over you? “Faith comes by hearing, by hearing the Word” — this word refers to the Rhema word of God. The spoken word is only received when speaking to God and taking the time to listen to Him speaking over you.

Bless you!
I hope this message has radically blessed you and given you nuggets and insights to keep on running this race full-steam ahead.

Persevere and watch as the Lord promotes you into deeper places with Him. He is the reward.

Step in and step up into who He has called you to be.

“Arise amd shine, for your light has come, and the Glory of the Lord has risen upon you!”

Want to know Jesus?
I don’t know where you are in your walk with God as you read this message today, but I want to invite you to come back to the Father’s house. God is calling out to His children all around the world, inviting them to the greatest wedding feast — of which we can not even imagine the magnitude and splendour!

Will you say yes?
It is by faith in Jesus that we are saved. Here is a prayer you can pray: “God, thank you for loving me! That You sent your only Son that if I believe I will not perish, but have eternal life. On this day I choose to leave my old life behind and come home to you! I repent. Forgive me of my sins (name them). I know you have a better plan for my life! I believe in Jesus, the Son of God who died for my sin and sickness, born of a virgin, who rose again and is sitting next to the Father in heaven, so that I too may live! Through faith in Jesus I am now born again. I am righteous by faith! I am a child of God! I am a new creation! My name is written in the book of Life!”

If you prayed this prayer today all of heaven is celebrating for you right now! Tell three of your close friends! Read the Bible — start in the book of John. Find a fiery church, alive with truth and love. Slot in!

I would love to hear from you and pray with you myself.

Also if you have a testimony from a touch from God you received through BWM, Please email me at Lindy-Ann@beautifulwitness.com

Remember, all creation is waiting for you!

Go for it!

Till next month…

Love and fire.

Evangelist Lindy-Ann

For more exciting news follow us on Facebook: Lindy-Ann Beautiful Witness Ministries.
For upcoming events and more visit: www.beautifulwitness.com

 




Doing change well — Marian Fitz-Gibbon

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Back in 2017, Cindy Jacobs (Generals International) spoke of many, many people talking about the need for societal reformation and desire to be reformers. Young people banding together to form movements that display a passion to go into each area of their culture and see reformation.

This will set the stage for the greatest outpouring of the Spirit and awakening the world has even known! Nations that were never impacted by the reformation will begin to experience one now. This will happen in all the continents!! “Africa, Africa, Africa, you are moving into your greatest hour, says the Lord!”

Gathering of hope
It’s 2018 and South Africa has seen much change in government with our President Cyril Ramaphosa and at a recent Kingdom Come Conference in Gauteng the topics of reformation, revival and change were highlighted. This time there were many leaders from different streams, or different church groups hungry to hear Bill Johnson, Eric Johnson and Banning Liebscher bring us a now word for our nation.

We’re set on change
There’s no doubt as a nation we’re set on change and the presence of the Lord. We grasp the concept that we need to bring the Lord into all aspects of society and that it’s no longer Jesus on Sunday but Jesus every day for us.

Every believer is responsible to impact their sphere of influence be it in the marketplace, educational sphere, at home as a parent, in the taxis, in the supermarkets, in the medical spheres, sporting arenas or media. We’re primed to be trained and equipped. And for many spheres, it’s well under way. It’s a men-and-woman, old-and-young and everyone’s-on-board approach.

We’re not waiting for “the big event”, in fact Jesus was the big event and we’re getting bolder about sharing His victory.

Impact of change
While moving toward our God given destiny there’s great excitement when we get the vision but when unexpected shift and change happens there’s a certain amount of stress that needs to be dealt with. This is usually when the unrighteous are being exposed whilst the righteous are taking up their place.

Let’s say it’s the Eskom story. In winter the electricity and Eskom becomes a topic of hot debate. A period like this is uncomfortable and unsettling. One may find oneself becoming discouraged as a result of sudden changes. Emotions run high; knee jerk reactions in the media can run rampant. The first thing is to understand the areas of possible impact that change may effect:

  • Our financial status or income — eg our electricity bill goes up;
  • Our political status — we can find ourselves making this a political issue;
  • Our personal identity — calling vs assignment;
  • Personal comfort — we can’t be warm or have all the lights on;
  • Understand how the Kingdom works — in the SA context righteousness will prevail.

Guard your heart
Having identified which one or more of those areas have been affected by the change, we as the Body of Christ advance forward to making a greater impact as a whole. As Proverbs writes, guard your heart when all does not go according to your plan:

Proverbs 4:23-27 says: Above all else, guard your heart, for out of it spring the issues of life. Put away from you a deceitful mouth, and put perverse lips far from you. Let your eyes look straight ahead. And your eyelids look right before you. Ponder the path of your feet and let all of your ways be established. Do not turn to the right nor to the left. Remove your foot from evil.

Encouragement
These are very simple instructions from the writer. Yet when one is discouraged one needs to get back to the promises of God and keep one’s focus clearly on that and that alone.

Your heart is the source of everything you do. It is the wellspring of life. In other words, it is the source of everything else in your life. Your heart overflows into thoughts, words and finally your actions. If your heart is unhealthy, it has an impact on everything else. It threatens your family, your friends, your ministry, your career, and indeed your legacy. It is therefore, imperative that your guard it.

Call to prayer
As we go through the transitions and alterations it is helpful, if not essential to be like David and to encourage yourself in the Lord (l Samuel 30:6). It was in the presence of the Lord that David regained his strength after a tragic loss and great battle. It was here that he was able to keep his focus on his destiny.

…But David encouraged himself in the Lord — 1 Samuel 30:6

He knew he was called by God, especially chosen, destined to the throne. He had a daily visitation of God’s Holy Spirit. He had a cause, he had zeal for the Lord, he was holy and burdened for the poor and needy.

The secret of David’s success was running to the presence of God in time of trouble. In the day when I cried thou answered me, and strengthened me with strength in my soul… (Psalm 138:3). David sang of God’s goodness and greatness while he, David felt weak and afraid. As he exalted the Lord, his spirit, mind and body became strengthened and he got back on his feet.

Secret place outcome
This coming Reformation will be nothing like the old ways of doing church. Time in the secret place getting the download from Abba Father is more essential than ever. The creatives will and are getting inspiration. The solution for medical issues will come in the presence of the Lord. The solutions for business issues will be found in the company of the Lord. Prayer meetings will no longer be places of obligation, but gatherings of outpouring of God’s inspiration and download.




Let freedom ring out — Rachel Simpson

Freedom Day, 2018; 24 years since the 1994 elections, the establishment of Mandela’s government, and the rise of a new dawn of equal rights in South Africa. Today, we do not celebrate freedom cheaply, but remember the cost to those who sought freedom while restricted, discriminated against, captive; who knew that in fighting they might die, but who lived believing that “the time is always right … to do that which is honest and just and good” even when society threatened otherwise.

“Let freedom ring out …” Martin Luther King Jr famously enthused in his “I have a dream” speech, 1963. The fight for freedom is as old as this world is, each generation building on the last, always seeking freedom, justice. And today we not only celebrate freedom in South Africa, equal rights after the long night of apartheid; 2018 calls for a worldwide celebration of those who sought and obtained freedom. This year marks 50 years since the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr, that great pastor and activist who spoke out against segregation in the so-called United States of America. It marks 100 years since the passing of the Representation of the People Act, 1918, in British Parliament giving some but not all women the right to vote for the first time.

The cost of freedom
Freedom takes on a deeper meaning when cost is involved. But it becomes priceless when a life is given for the cause. Martin Luther King Jr like so many in South Africa who laid down their lives for freedom, believed that “ultimately a man must do what is right no matter what people think about him.” He went on to preach that “man must do, if he is a leader, the will of Almighty God … come what may” — a powerful commitment which no man gives if he has not reached the point where dying for his conviction is better than living without it.

We see in King’s life a radical pursuit of integration and equality that will be respected for generations. And yet his fight for freedom without violence is an example to those today who feel that justice has not come in all its fullness to South Africa. In 1967, Martin Luther King Jr admitted:

I’m concerned about a better world. I’m concerned about justice; I’m concerned about brotherhood; I’m concerned about truth. And when one is concerned about that, he can never advocate violence. For through violence you may murder a murderer, but you can’t murder murder. Through violence you may murder a liar, but you can’t establish truth. Through violence you may murder a hater, but you can’t murder hate through violence. Darkness cannot put out darkness; only light can do that.”

“Through violence you may murder a hater, but you can’t murder hate through violence. Darkness cannot put out darkness; only light can do that.” — Martin Luther King Jr

Instead, Martin Luther King Jr advocated for a society and leadership that realised the need for action and governance that united both power and love; for he believed “that power without love is reckless and abusive, and that love without power is sentimental and anaemic. Power at its best … is love implementing the demands of justice, and justice at its best is love correcting everything that stands against love.”

Firm though he was in his resolve to protest the evils of the day non-violently, his passion for the cause of equality cannot be denied. He refused to be satisfied with the injustices of his time; he called the nation to make freedom a matter of urgency, “to make real the promises of democracy”. As a nation today, we celebrate the freedom already set out in our constitution but we mourn the poverty, poor education, overburdened and under resourced health care system, and the racial hatred that still plagues our land. Yet, within each area, we witness time and again the fierce courage of those who seek to bring freedom in their realm of influence; light breaking through the darkness. In our thirst to see freedom come truly in our nation let us be careful not to satisfy ourselves “by drinking from the cup of bitterness and hatred” as Martin Luther King Jr warned. For to do so may usher in freedom to an extent, but the captivity of soul that comes from action driven by hatred steals the full joy that freedom gained rightly brings.

Achieving human freedom without violence
Milicent Fawcett, leader of The National Union of Women’s Suffrage Societies (NUWSS) who saw the passing of the bill that enabled British women over 30 to vote for parliamentary candidates for the first time in 1918, said, “I am far from claiming that we actually accomplished the difficult feat of doing what was right, but I believe we tried to.” In the face of pressure from women within the NUWSS who left and suffragettes elsewhere who did not feel violence was uncalled for in their fight for freedom, Fawcett stood firm in her beliefs that “the great advance in human freedom, at which [they] aimed” could be achieved without violence. Yet, as in the case of Martin Luther King Jr, her passion for the cause of women’s enfranchisement cannot be ignored. She embodied “the successful conduct of every great change” written in her book Women’s Suffrage published in 1911: the “combination of the spirit of order with the spirit of audacity.” For freedom to come, injustice must be recognised, and injustice recognised must meet with courage before it can be resisted well. In the face of disappointment, opposition, and misrepresentation, those fighting for the enfranchisement of women showed great determination. Fawcett wrote of their great trials: “the long struggle to obtain suffrage has been a great education for women, not only politically, but also in courage, perseverance, endurance and comradeship with each other.” The fight for freedom will always require more than a knowledge of injustice; at its core is a strength of character to see to the end the desire for change.

“Power at its best … is love implementing the demands of justice, and justice at its best is love correcting everything that stands against love.” — Martin Luther King Jr

South Africa, your fight for equal rights, your fight for a voice, for the right to vote, is still fresh. Though white women received enfranchisement in 1930, it was alongside the denial of the vote to black men in the Cape. 1994, just over 20 years ago, was the first time South Africans of all races were given the right to vote. The cost was great; and today we celebrate that “long walk to freedom”. Nelson Mandela famously addressed the court in his 1964 trial, saying:

I have dedicated myself to this struggle of the African people. I have fought against white domination, and I have fought against black domination. I have cherished the ideal of a democratic and free society in which all persons live together in harmony and with equal opportunities. It is an ideal which I hope to live for and to achieve. But if needs be, it is an ideal for which I am prepared to die.”

Twenty seven years of imprisonment followed; 30 years until the realisation of his dream. How fitting that the man who suffered so much for the cause was the man championed by the people to lead the nation out of its dark night of political inequality and racialism. His great exposure to the hatred of man during the struggle led him to conclude something powerful: “People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love.”

His dream of a rainbow nation is still one for which we strive; unity a beauty we long to see come into maturity. For where there is unity, there is power. Our history as a nation bears witness to what is possible when people unite for justice. As Nelson Mandela said in his inauguration speech, May 1994, “The struggle for democracy has never been a matter pursued by one race, class, religious community or gender among South Africans. In honouring those who fought to see this day arrive, we honour the best sons and daughters of all our people. We can count amongst them Africans, Coloureds, Whites, Indians, Muslims, Christians, Hindus, Jews — all of them united by a common vision of a better life for the people of this country.”

For those generations who sought the freedom we enjoy, we honour you. For the generation seeking freedom where there is suffering and oppression now, we stand beside you. Rise with courage and in the words of the famous martyr: “Let freedom ring out!”




Make this life count — Hannah Viviers

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A monthly column on purpose, passion and power in Jesus.

Often we disqualify ourselves from pursuing our dreams because we believe the lie that somehow we’re not able. We look at others getting ahead, fulfilling great things, while we’re on the slow track — to nowhere. We feel inadequate and that maybe, just maybe, we were the unlucky ones who didn’t get given the “success” gene.

I get the feeling, but I urge you to not give up on yourself or your dreams.

I began an incredible journey just over eight years ago. Part of it was having my son, Luke, which totally revolutionised my life and challenged me to radically transform how I’d been living. Before having him one of my biggest hopes was to be a mom.

For years I battled infertility. So when my dream of being a mommy finally came true the experience blew me away.

It’s been almost eight years since the beginning of that revolution took place. What a journey it’s been. While it’s been nothing short of amazing being a mom, not all of my journey has been great.

In these past eight years I’ve gone through two debilitating bouts of depression — one of them almost cost my life — literally.

While stuck in that tornado of dark emptiness I heard my little boy’s feet pattering down our hallway. When he got to me, he lifted his tiny arms for me to pick him up. I knew that if I lived for nothing else on this earth, I had a big BIG purpose: to be his mom and fulfil my call to raise him the best I could.

Asada Mao of Japan tries to stand up after falling in the ladies’ short programme competition at the Iceberg Skating Palace. (PHOTO: AP)

God’s grace is amazing
During these past eight years I also lost a business I’d invested so much of myself into — I didn’t know how I’d recover from that — but I did. God’s grace is too amazing to express.

I also begun a woman’s movement I know God’s got great plans for — what a stretch that has been.

And I finally decided to pursue my passion as a detox coach.

At this greying age of my life I am grateful I know that God loves me.

I am beyond blessed to have a husband who takes his office as husband very seriously — what an anchor he’s been. I’m grateful to God for trusting me when I haven’t had a stitch of belief in myself. And I’m grateful for my three children who remind me that miracles still happen today.

In these past eight years I’ve “started over” more times than I care to count. And I’ve failed more times than I’d truthfully admit.

My gratitude lies not in those awful experiences but in what they woke me up to and how they showed me that dawn always comes.

I’d love to say I’m grateful for each trial, but they were horrible! Really horrible! Many hurt. My gratitude lies not in those awful experiences but in what they woke me up to and how they showed me that dawn always comes. We need to have an experience of dawn; it keeps us going.

Today my life looks very different to what it did eight years ago. My hair’s a lot more colourful. I have three kids — one almost too big to carry now. I thought the crazy would wear off with age but it seems I’m a little madder than I started out. And I’ve come to like that about me — my drama and all. I was told we tend to embrace our real selves as we grow older. I like that about growing older.

So here I am, sitting next to the love of my life as I write this.

On one hand I feel sick to my stomach for how twisted and broken the world is — on the other hand I’m grateful that in this cold weather I have a beautiful brick house sheltering us. I have a husband who’s my bestest friend. I have three gorgeous little people we made and somehow with all the insanity around us, I get to be a small part of making things better for people I work with on their own path to healing.

For the most part, this life’s tough. It really is.

And if we’re spiritually awake, we realise that this part of our lives is superbly tiny to the eternity of sheer bliss we’ll continuously enjoy one day with Jesus.

We get up and move on
Of course we get those amazing moments, but things are hard and just as they seem to get easier we get knocked down by some unseen wind. But here’s the amazing part: we get up and we move on. And if we’re spiritually awake, we realise that this part of our lives is superbly tiny to the eternity of sheer bliss we’ll continuously enjoy one day with Jesus.

What do we do about the parts that hurt, ache, pain, or madden us?

We put on our armour and we stand against the wind.

We fight like good soldiers and watch that our words don’t become our downfall.

We speak faith and love every chance we get.

We find something we truly believe in and stand for it.

We honour each other.

We show true love and grace to those we claim to love.

We smile randomly.

We encourage one another.

We say thank You Jesus every time we remember His goodness. And, we live.

Don’t accept the failures as part of your identity — they’re just incidents — learn from them but don’t allow them in your DNA.

What I’ve learned in these past eight years is that everyone has a story. Behind our colourful fascinating Facebook statuses, many of us are hurting and failing and panicked and rapidly losing hope. But, beneath all that we’re warriors at heart — refusing to quit and waking up to face the world another day.

Never forget that you, Beautiful One, are amazing.

Don’t look at other people succeeding and think you’re failing. Everyone is on journey — so are you.

Push hard to achieve your dreams but be kind to yourself in the process. Don’t accept the failures as part of your identity — they’re just incidents — learn from them but don’t allow them in your DNA. Don’t be afraid to try again just because things didn’t work out the way you’d hoped.

Ask those people you admire if things were smooth and easy for them. No one has it easy. You won’t either.

What I can tell you though is this: the day you decide on what you’re going to go for — all in, totally focused, unshaken in your conviction — you’ll have a joy that is unquenched no matter how hard things get, because you’ll know what you’re living for and why you’re grinding so hard.

Make this life count.




The injustice of sex slavery

Colossians 3:12 Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.

I heard the screams of a girl coming from a car that passed by and rounded the bend too quickly for me to see it, but still I stood there, staring down the street, hoping and praying with words that had not yet been formed. It was just a moment later and there she was! She came marching back up passed me and into the darkness of her world that most would never know. No older than 15, I guessed, and with too little fabric to cover her tiny frame and keep her warm in the coolness of the night. The little bump in her belly was naked but that was most likely the least of her troubles.

I followed her, having to run a little to catch up but I called out to her and she stopped. She turned towards me but immediately hung her head to hide her face behind the matted mess of her unkempt wig. I asked her to look up and look at me, desperately hoping that somehow I could reach into her soul, to show compassion and give her at least one moment to feel human, loved and valued. Her pitch-black eyes told the truth of the fear and affliction of a sex-slave but her words were the rehearsed scraps of someone else’s tale. These words are all she is permitted to speak — conditioned by means of repeated violent rape and abuse, compelling her to protect her oppressors.

Nothing is quite as it seems!

My usual 20-minute drive home that night was stretched to close to an hour, even though there is typically no traffic in the wee hours of the morning. My heart and thoughts were in another world — far, far away — no, not in Taiwan or India or Indonesia or Russia, but with the child I had just met, right here in Port Elizabeth. Yes, human trafficking is very much a reality in PE! This “far, far away” world is not geographically distant, as some might suppose, but is often far from consideration, only for lack of exposure to the truths that hide within this heinous crime. It is my hope that we can change that in the months and years to come.

The misconceptions around all forms of modern-day slavery are many and I will write more about these in future articles, but sex-slavery is one that is close to my heart and it certainly deserves attention and understanding.

All too often civil society will look down on sex-workers with disgust, condemning their “career choice”, but what if there was no choice? Though not lacking compassion for these too, I am not referring to the minority of sex-workers who may see no alternative “choice” but to sell their bodies for survival. Instead I would like to draw the readers’ attention to another category of sex-workers who really do not have any choice. Would we still hold in contempt a 12-year-old child who was abducted, beaten, drugged and gang-raped for several months and then forced into prostitution for someone else’s monetary gain? Surely not!

As she ages within the industry — if she even survives past 15 years of age — starting to look a little more like an adult, do we suppose that an “adult” choice was made? What about when she turns 18? Is she suddenly no longer that victim, but now a criminal? Does she suddenly deserve to be arrested or scorned for “her” crime? There is no birthday gift but instead her basic human right (freely available to everyone else) to report sexual violation, or physical assault by a client evading payment, is further destroyed by her fear of arrest. (Please note that according to South African law, every sex-worker under the age of 18 is automatically regarded as a victim, irrespective of circumstances. This includes all forms of sex work: street prostitution, brothel prostitution, escort services, massage parlour-related prostitution, pornography, exotic dancing, nude modelling, sexting, peepshows, child-brides or sexual servitude, etc.)

I do not mean to imply that all who have been trafficked for the purpose of sexual exploitation, would have started out as young girls, but in truth, if not by similar means, equally compelling forces are commonly applied with many adult women, as well as young boys, men, transgenders and transsexuals. The statistics for each may vary in certain parts of the world, due to factors that increase vulnerability, as well as preference (demand) and availability (supply), but truly, nobody is disqualified in the eye of these opportunistic perpetrators.

This brings me to my next question, with deliberate reproach … is there really much difference between one who sells another human being for personal benefit and one who buys a human being for personal benefit? Why is she, the metaphorical “merchandise”, so often rebuked and/or arrested but not the seller, nor the buyer? If there was no demand from clients, there would be no need to supply and no business for traffickers!

I thank God for the opportunity to write on the subject of human trafficking. I pray that through this column, awareness, understanding and compassion would be stirred in the hearts of people, to stand together against the world’s greatest injustice.




The great Gaza betrayal — Charles Gardner

Grace Fryer with one of her evocative photographs depicting the suffering of Jewish children in Sderot.

Peace was promised for pull-out – but it never came!

As thousands of Palestinian rioters take part in demonstrations against Israel on the border with Gaza, media attention is rarely focused on the Jewish victims of violence living nearby.

The so-called March of Return, during which protestors have hurled rocks and Molotov cocktails at Israeli soldiers trying to safeguard their citizens, is about claiming the right of return for refugees (and their descendants) supposedly driven out of Israel at the birth of the modern state exactly 70 years ago.

Quite apart from the fallacy of their claim, which I shall explain, the whole scenario of Hamas-led Gaza erupting in turmoil is a terrible betrayal of Arabs and all those who have supported their aspirations.

The nations who encouraged former Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon to withdraw from the enclave in 2005 in a “land for peace” exchange have blood on their hands.

For there is no peace for those Jewish residents who live within easy rocket-fire of Gaza, as a North Wales photographic exhibition called The Hope (Hatikva) graphically illustrates.1

Suffering children
Having witnessed mortar and rocket attacks while visiting the area as a child, student photographer Grace Fryer returned in 2016 to the Jewish communities of Sderot and Kfar Aza, located just over a mile from Gaza, to record the suffering of children whose daily lives are shattered by the sound of sirens giving them just seconds to find shelter. A number have been killed while others have been traumatised and unable to live normal lives.

Grace tells the story of 17-year-old Ella Abukasis, who died while protecting her younger brother from shrapnel, and her exhibition includes photographs from the children’s centre her father Yonatan founded in her memory as well as shrapnel from a Kassam rocket recovered after a similar attack.2

“The Israeli communities around Gaza are not only subject to the constant fear of rocket attacks, but also face the reality that terrorists are tunnelling under their homes with the sole intention of taking hostages and killing civilians,” Grace points out.

“There are also times when the rocket fire becomes so extreme that Israel has to enter Gaza to protect her citizens.”

Just imagine if you were living in your neighbourhood and were subject to a never-ending barrage of missiles being launched from a few blocks away. You would no doubt expect your government to do something about it. Yet Israel is almost always cast as the aggressor when they strike back at the Hamas terrorists causing all this mayhem.

When Israel took back control of Gaza from Egypt in 1967, the communities around Sderot built good relationships with the Arabs in Gaza. Jews would sell their fruit and vegetables on the beaches of Gaza while Arab mechanics would repair Jewish cars.

But Yasser Arafat put an end to that when he initiated an intifada (uprising) in 2000. Under his direction, terrorists began attacking Jewish communities in Gush Katif, in the Gaza strip, which is what ultimately led to Ariel Sharon’s withdrawal five years later. With a population of just 8 000, this community produced over 12% of Israel’s dairy and horticultural products.

‘Peace’ agreement
“The agreement was that if this community gave all their property and business to the Arabs of Gaza, their leaders would stop the terror attacks on Israeli communities,” Grace explained.

“Many in Gush Katif, who were themselves children of refugees from 1948, were forced to leave their homes to live in temporary accommodation in Israel; and they did so in ‘The Hope’ that there would be peace – but it never came!

“Breaking their promise, Gaza-based Arab terrorists began using the very land which had been left vacant for them to fire rockets and mortars into Sderot and the surrounding areas.”

It’s a terrible and frightening scenario, as you can well imagine, for children playing in school playgrounds, or visiting outdoor markets, stores and synagogues. Nowhere seemed safe, and pain is etched on the faces of those who have never known peace.

Not surprisingly, living with this constant danger takes a huge toll on these communities, leading to family break-up and illness caused by stress and anxiety. And yet none of these difficulties is recognised by the UN, individual governments or human rights organisations.

As for the fallacy of the “March of Return”, to which I also referred last week, the refugee situation affecting the Palestinian people is a crisis of their own making. It was self-inflicted. Some 800 000 of them heeded the warning of the surrounding states bent on Israel’s destruction in 1948 to flee their homes, promising their swift return alongside the victorious Arab armies. Israeli leaders, meanwhile, had tried their best to persuade them to stay, but to no avail – hence creating a totally unnecessary humanitarian crisis conveniently used as an excuse to blame Israel for almost everything wrong with the world.

What’s more, there were at least as many genuine Jewish refugees expelled from Arab countries at the same time. And Israel successfully integrated every one of them. The surrounding states, however, still refuse to take responsibility for the welfare of those they persuaded to leave Israel.

As Walter Scott put it, “Oh, what a tangled web we weave, when first we practice to deceive!”

Notes
1The month-long exhibition, opened on April 12th, is being held at the Theatre Clywd Education Gallery, Mold, North Wales.
2Leaflet promoting The Hope photographic exhibition – see www.fathershouse.wales




Getting rid of our hardwiring — Vivienne Schultz

Optimum Human

A new monthly column by social entrepreneur and A2B Transformation Group founder Vivienne Schultz.

I recently read in Psychology Today, an international magazine, that only 1 out of 8 people are willing to work with their own truth. With God’s grace, it sets them on a journey towards humble single-mindedness, righteousness and integrity. Sadly, 7/8 persons resist transformation, rationalising themselves out of it and stay in their false self and bondage mindset.

Our organisation’s 24 years research identified 16 nasty hardwires (or character flaws) that develop in your brain from early childhood, without you even being aware of it happening. During every second that you were/are in a state of fear or experience with sense of “I am not ok”, this hardwiring happens.

Through advances in neuroscience, it has been proven that your brain was altered every single incident where you were handled unlovingly, felt neglected, ignored, embarrassed, abused, harassed, scolded or where irritation was shown towards you. It caused an unhealthy distortion of your impulse control, your natural feelings, affections, inclinations, temper, habits and moral tendencies, and caused character flaws.

How it works
How? A cascade of stress-type neurochemicals starts in the lower brain and literally washes into the rest of the brain. This tells your brain that you are unsafe and need to move into hyper-gear to protect you from further exposure.

If this triggered reaction occurs frequently and over an extended period of time, where you constantly feel “under attack”, you stay in this prolonged state of fear. As a result, some wonderfully designed parts of the brain, required for taking initiative, thinking in higher gear by being creative, having empathy, and flexibly and patiently getting along with others, are now shutting down and your mind is being driven into a diminishing frame of self-protection. These experiences fuse, alter, warp and limit the way you think. It reduces the unlimited potential of your brain and keeps your mind stuck and biased, thus driving similar stuck behaviour, limiting your possibilities, making life less pleasant for you, and those close to you.

When your pride is threatened, you hide behind a smoke-screen of defensive behaviours. So, too, every hardwire keeps you enveloped in a pall of smoke preventing you from being adaptive, influencing your view of yourself and others. It is your resistor — it blocks you and impairs your vision, causing you to view yourself through a lens that distorts reality.

As seriously hazardous as hardwires are, they are hard to spot. Your ego stands firmly in the way and if you sense the slightest challenge to your self, it is interpreted as a ‘threat’ and you go into self-preservation ‘fight and flight’ mode immediately. Your hardwires will paint even the ‘ugliness’ in your ‘stuckness’ as beautiful and commendable. Those comfortable moments when you pat yourself on the back for how well you are doing, are the moments that should alarm you the most, because it’s your blinkered hardwires running as a default programme in you.

Hardwiring occurs in both men and women, in all civilized cultures and at every socioeconomic level. Each hardwire has its own default pattern and vicious circle of some kind, and, will keep you spinning in this ‘stuck’ trajectory, going nowhere with your life. Substantiating this, by calling it “my personality”, or “my culture,” does not fly any longer. Each hardwire causes new electrical short circuits and new different hardwire abnormalities in you, affecting and influencing you and the people you come into contact with, spreading dysfunctional behaviour in our world. It is the destructive force that prevents both you and your loved ones from change and blocks you from becoming an optimal human.

What can be predicted, can be managed
You have become a combination of the recorded experiences within your brain and your mind. On a conscious level, you probably do not even have any memory of the thousands of exact moments forming these hardwires, especially if you had a disempowering childhood, as this lies deep down in your unconscious mind. If we can take this fact seriously, that a lot of what drives human behaviour, is often irrational and lies at a deep unconscious level in the mind, in other words, we are predictably irrational, then it’s time we spent many more daylight hours understanding ourselves and others better, to navigate through our mire of hardwires. The wonderful news, is that what can be predicted, can be managed.

Step one in your success is always: acknowledge and confront your hardwires with honesty. Suppressing this can cause mental health issues. We live in a society where mental health is still considered a “hush-hush” subject. This is really destructive. We all have weaknesses — we are all under construction — and if you don’t stay under construction, you will self-destruct. Once you know your hardwires, you will typically say: “I wish I had become aware of them much earlier and stopped them from causing the invisible stress and slow destruction to my body and mind. It would have saved me years of medical bills and wasted time through illness recovery.” It’s time to get to a new level of self-awareness, ensuring that you prevent yourself from being fatefully condemned to a life of coddling and/or failing on all fronts:

  • Anguish, gloom, and hopelessness on a psychological level,
  • The drying up of your ability to love and embrace humans and your simmering latent anger on a moral level,
  • Nervous illness and its manifestations on a medical level.

From a Christian point of view, the hardwiring in your brain can cause the death of the soul before physical death — the experience of hell while still in this life.

Identify your hardwires asap. Take ownership over yourself now! Why now? On a secular level, nobody wants to pay salary’s to hardwired employees, nobody wants to be in a relationship with your hardwires, no child wants to be submitting to a hardwired parent. It’s time you become whole, and taste real happiness in your real true you! It’s time you become purposeful and focused on saving souls, before too many around you are too hardwired to change.

It’s a medium-term, committed journey to get unstuck! And you might suddenly one day face your own mortality and realise that you do not have the longevity, vitality and comprehension any more. And then it’s almost impossible. Just like an elastic band that has perforated by being exposed to the sun and rain, you might also be losing that neuroplasticity ability of your mind.

Today is the time to rewire yourself!

Precious Christians, rid the last hardwiring in preparation for our King’s coming.

Information on an assessment scale and toolkit that gives you more insights into your predictable irrationality, followed by tools to help alter and guide you to optimum behaviour is available from Vivienne at info@a2btransformation.com.




Faith for the Journey — Vivienne Solomons

outloud title bar

A monthly column by Vivienne Solomons who is a legal consultant who passionately believes that God wants His people to make a difference right where they are and to stand up for what is true and just. She is also passionate about encouraging young women to walk victoriously with God and she is engaged in a challenging faith journey as a parent of a child with special needs.

In recent weeks, I have been reflecting a great deal on faith, more specifically my own personal faith journey, especially as it relates to what the future may hold for me and my family, for we live in a time of not only wonderful opportunity but also great uncertainty.

Faith is often likened to a muscle in our bodies (that needs to be exercised in order to develop) and without which, it is impossible to please God (Hebrews 11:6). It is defined as “the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen” — Hebrews 11:1. As believers, we know that we are called to a life of faith. Indeed, we are called to live by faith and not by sight (2 Corinthians 5:7).

Doubting God
But have you ever found yourself in a place where you doubt God and His plan for your life? Even just a little? I certainly have, and on more occasions than I care to remember … and it usually happens when I find myself in what I call “uncharted territory” (when I am doing new things or when I realise new fears and especially when I come face to face with the possibility of failure).

The good news is that God is always at work in me, enabling me (often in spite of me) to will and to work out His good purpose (Philippians 2:13), if not in plain sight then most certainly behind the scenes. Not only that, I have the assurance that He will work everything together for me because I love Him and I am called according to His purpose (Romans 8:28).

But what are we to do when we feel our faith is fading? Typically, I do two things. First, and most importantly, I immerse myself in the Word of God, for “faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God” (Romans 10:17).

Secondly, I choose (sometimes it is a choice as it doesn’t always happen automatically) to remind myself of my journey with God, how far He has brought me and what we have overcome together (1 Samuel 7:12). Often, I find myself going back to the beginning, to where it all really started for me. I was 17 years old at the time, a student at the University of Cape Town, away from home and everyone and everything familiar, when one night after I had said goodnight to my roommate and as I lay in bed going over the day’s events, I heard a still small voice whisper in my ear. His was a new yet strangely familiar and comforting voice and I found myself responding to Him. So, there I was, talking to someone I couldn’t see and there was nothing crazy or unnatural (at least to me) about it! In an instant, I knew that I was valued, that my life had purpose and that I was loved unconditionally.

Hope for the future
Needless to say, our nightly conversations became the highlight of my day. For the first time in my life, I was filled with hope for the future and an assurance that no matter the road ahead, I would be ok, for He was with me. This despite the fact that I did not know Him and could not see Him. Looking back, it was a defining moment in my life and the beginning of an incredible faith journey.

Since then, there have been many (and let’s be honest here, often unwelcome) opportunities to exercise my faith, challenging experiences that have marked my life and changed me forever. To highlight just a few – my marriage across the race, culture and language divide in the face of doubt and some opposition; the birth of my first son after multiple miscarriages and a difficult pregnancy; the addition of my second (adopted) son to our family after years of waiting on the fulfilment of God’s promise … I could recount many more. Even today there are specific things that my family is trusting God for, that we are expectant for, and these are our faith stories in the making.

Do you record your own personal faith journey? If not, I hope that sharing mine has inspired you to do so. I have found it to be a wonderful way in which to encourage myself, whatever stage of life or season I may be in, that God is always at work on my behalf and therefore I need not fear the future or what it holds.




Come and drink from the reopened wells of revival — Gary Kieswetter

Church leader, author and radio and television personality Gary Kieswetter reflects on revival in this article written for Gateway News in the light of what God is doing in South Africa in this season.

Also see It’s time for a mighty revival in SA

Revival is necessary because as the church, we so easily get bogged down and satisfied with traditions and religion. We need revival because the world needs to experience God as a good Father, full of mercy and grace. God has so often been misrepresented.

Revival is God’s idea to partner with His church and to exalt His son Jesus Christ so that all men may be drawn to Him. It is so easy to become powerless in our mandate to establish His Kingdom on earth. There is no life without the presence of the Holy Spirit. Revival is the re-awakening of the cry of the heart for intimacy with Jesus. This is what Satan fears the most, for he has no answer for intimacy with God. A fresh outpouring of the Holy Spirit on the dry and weary souls of mankind who have been caught up in a religion instead of daily living in a relationship with the living God.

God never intended revival to stop; it was to be passed on from generation to generation.

Re-open and rename the wells
In Genesis 26 God instructs Isaac to re-open and rename all the wells that Abraham his father had dug. The reason for this is that the Philistines filled up all the wells with sand thereby denying anyone the life-giving water. The Philistines represent religion that denies the Holy Spirit to have free access and movement in churches. God wants us to reopen the wells that through decades have been stopped.

God never intended revival to stop; it was to be passed on from generation to generation.

For long the church has been in a spiritual wilderness of dryness desperately needing a fresh outpouring of the presence of God. Notice how Jesus went to Samaria, sat at the well waiting for the woman to come draw water.

This picture represents the Church coming to Jesus who wants to give us the Holy Spirit to quench our thirst. Jesus asked her the question that she should have asked Him, give me a drink of water. When she said, we have nothing in common, Jesus replied, if you knew the gift of God and who it is that is speaking to you, you would have asked Him and He would have given you living water. For He who believes in Me, as the scripture says, the water that I give him will become in Him a well springing up into eternal life. This is the result of being filled with the Holy Spirit. This well and invitation to drink of this living water is still available for us today.

Throughout the years there have been many prophesies that have said that revival will break out in Cape Town and spread throughout our country and beyond our borders — a revival that has not yet been seen.

However, God is busy re-opening all the wells that through the decades have been dug in Cape Town. This is the desire of His heart for humanity to experience God as the good, gracious, generous God that He is. This revival will by far be dwarfed by the reformation that will take place. God will establish His kingdom in our country like never before. God determines the moment of visitation and the church determines how long He stays. Jesus taught us to pray, Your Kingdom come, Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.

God wants heaven to invade earth.

God wants heaven to invade earth.

As the Church, we have the honour and privilege of hosting His presence that will cause multitudes in our country to turn to Him. This movement will establish many monuments that will continually give momentum for this reformation to take place.

Celebrate the past but live new revival in the present
In 2010 the Dutch Reformed Church celebrated the revival that God brought through Andrew Murray 150 years ago that swept across the Cape in 1860. As the church we should celebrate the past but be inspired to relive it in the present. Habakkuk 3:2 says: Lord I have heard of your reports, I stand in awe of your works O Lord, revive them in our day, in our time make them known. In wrath remember mercy. Even before this revival broke out Andrew Murray’s father prayed for 36 years every Friday crying out for a move of God.

My own father-in-law Dr James le Roux had the same heart-cry for revival in Parow, Cape Town in the 1970’s. I remember that this church was so packed even with many standing outside just to hear what God was doing. Every week there were many salvations coupled with many healings and miracles, even creative ones. God’s presence was so strong sometimes that people couldn’t stand and it was not unusual to see people lying on the floor crying out in repentance.

There is a hunger in our nation for God like never before.

In 1989 we as a family were called to full time ministry. We were invited to join a team led by PD le Roux, a retired pastor who started “Woord in Aksie” camps in Pretoria. Up to 400 men came every weekend from all over the country driven by their longing to encounter and experience God in a fresh way. This continued for years. They would go back to their towns and churches with a re-ignited passion for Jesus and often started meetings in their own towns. This was a powerful move of God during that time.

In 1990 we were invited to preach in a Dutch Reformed Church in Kibler Park in Johannesburg. The preacher Dieter Berner had a burning passion to see revival in his church. Every Sunday evening we would witness the Spirit move and touch many people. Healing, miracles and restoration of relationships was the norm. There were people falling under the power of the Spirit and filled with joy and laughter.

We then travelled the nation for 22 years preaching everywhere and seeing God doing wonderful things. My wife and I simply desired to be fire starters and rekindle people’s passion for God. In 2011 we started a church in Tygervalley in Willowbridge Shopping Centre.

God told my wife to name the church “Die Bron”, The Well in English. When I asked God what does Die Bron stand for, He spoke in my spirit and said: Bring Revival On Now.

The question is, what now? Is there something after Mighty Men? Is there something after It’s Time?

This was our heart cry to God to bring revival and for us to host His presence but we also experienced that this was God’s request towards the church. The scripture says, deep calls unto deep so from the depth of our heart we cried to God and from the depth of the desire of His heart He cries out to all churches: Bring revival on now! God is waiting for us to respond to His purpose for the church. He has given us everything necessary to accomplish His will. His life, His Spirit, His power, His gifts, His fruit, His anointing for us to use to establish His Kingdom on earth.

A hunger in our nation for God
I think of Angus Buchan, a farmer in Natal who has been called and anointed by God for such a time as this. To think that 240 men came to his farm for the first Mighty Men gathering. This began to gain momentum in the country as men began to be re-awakened to encounter God in a living way. There is a hunger in our nation for God like never before.

This hunger has reached the point of contagiousness as seen in Bloemfontein in 2017. This was the largest gathering of believers crying out to God in prayer for our nation in the history of our country with one million people attending.

The re-opened wells are starting to flow with living water, so whoever is thirsty, let him come and drink.

On March 24 2018 Angus Buchan held another prayer meeting in Mitchells Plain, Cape Town with up to 150 000 people attending. This was the largest recorded gathering of people in this region. This was historical and I believe a pivotal moment in this region that has begun to release shock waves that are to trigger the coming tsunami of revival.

This year there are 20 Mighty Men gatherings all over our country. You may ask, what is the significance of this? Remember the two dreams that Pharaoh had and no-one in Egypt could interpret it? Joseph was summoned to appear before Pharaoh for it was known that the Spirit of God was in Joseph. He told Pharaoh the reason you had two dreams and so soon after each other means the following, it is fixed in heaven and soon to come to pass. Whenever God begins to repeat the same thing more frequently we see a pattern established that the glory is about to fall.

The question is, what now? Is there something after Mighty Men? Is there something after It’s Time?

The answer is an overwhelming yes. God is setting His church up for a visitation of His Spirit. God is giving us an invitation to embrace this move of God and to partner with Him by praying, Your Kingdom come, Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. We are about to witness multitudes of people coming into His Kingdom and a display of His goodness, mercy and grace through signs, wonders and miracles.

The re-opened wells are starting to flow with living water, so whoever is thirsty, let him come and drink.




Land expropriation and the religious community

The land reform issues has many questioning what to do. (PHOTO: John Fedele)

Land expropriation is a highly political and emotionally charged issue. Freedom of Religion South Africa (FOR SA) is closely monitoring this area since it clearly has the potential to impact on the religious community. We therefore want to bring a balanced perspective to our constituency so that we have a framework of reference within which to formulate appropriate responses at the appropriate time.

The issue of land expropriation has taken centre stage since the ANC adopted a policy at its Congress in December last year, subsequently endorsed by a resolution tabled in Parliament in February 2018 calling for “Expropriation Without Compensation” (EWC). Yet almost immediately, President Ramaphosa stated that there was no cause for alarm, that there would be no land grabs, that it was imperative to ensure that the economy remained stable and food security protected. At the same time, the EFF attacked the government of back-pedalling, saying that this was no more than an electioneering ruse to undermine their more radical and populist approach. The initial EFF resolution called for “the necessity of the State being a custodian of all South African land”. However, placing all land into the custody of the State is not in the interest of any South African, given the well-documented lack of State capacity to optimally administer land for land reform purposes. The undermining of property rights will impact all equally.

At the centre of the debate is whether (or not) there is a need for an amendment of section 25 of the Constitution (the “property clause”) to allow the State to expropriate land without compensation. Section 25 has two distinct parts: Subsections (1) to (4) provide protection against arbitrary deprivation of property rights and define the principles and framework for expropriation. Subsections (5) to (9) describe the State’s obligation to ensure equitable access to land, land reform and redress.

It is argued by some that there is no need for an amendment to the Constitution, since the current provisions do not specify a Rand amount for compensation, but rather use the expression “just and equitable”. If implemented strictly, this could mean that a zero (or nominal) amount of financial compensation could be paid and — if opposed — the courts could decide on whether this is a possible interpretation.

A complex issue with no easy solutions
At the outset, although many believe that land expropriation is a question of justice, there is evidently no easy solution to this problem. It is also arguably more of a political issue than a recognition of a priority demand at grass roots level, as evidenced by a recent survey which showed that a mere 9 respondents out of 2 245 demographically represented people (0.4% of the total) identified land reform as a key unresolved problem. For most South Africans, the issue has little or no significance, with jobs, crime and housing being far more important issues for the majority.

However, the issue of land ownership is highly symbolic, with some estimates showing that the vast majority of land in South Africa is “white owned”, with the obvious related question of “how was this acquired?” At the same time, others have challenged the veracity of these figures because they omit vast land holdings owned by the State and other tribal trust structures. Against this background, it is important to note that this is not a black and white issue but rather many shades of grey. For example:

  • How far back in history do you go when considering what land to appropriate? In this regard, the Khoi San lay claim to the ownership of nearly two thirds of all land in present day South Africa.
  • How do you decide who should become the new owners of the land, especially where you cannot prove previous tenure as in the Western Cape?
  • What framework will the State develop/use to decide which land to expropriate?

The religious sector is clearly worried about this development, which has the potential danger of being very divisive since there is a perception that the traditional churches are significant land owners whereas the more independent (particularly African) churches are often unable to acquire land for economic reasons. However, a Pietermaritzberg based organisation called Church Land has done extensive research on this area and initial enquiries seem to indicate that large scale land ownership by churches is not true and that the religious community is a negligible land owner. Typically if/when churches no longer use land, they sell it.

Whatever policy may be adopted, it will need to consider the reality that there are existing and different property ownership systems in South Africa. In particular, huge tracts of land are owned by traditional rulers in the form of customary land, where in many cases an individual owns the land on behalf of the community. An example of this is the Ingonyama Land Trust, where some 3 million hectares in KwaZulu-Natal are owned by the Zulu King, who has already stated that his people will defend their land in needs be. This traditional system contrasts with the “Roman Dutch” law model of private ownership evidence by title deeds. The State — via multiple government departments and State-owned enterprises (SOEs) — also has vast land holdings.

However, at present there is no definitive audit available of land ownership in South Africa — hence President Ramaphosa ordering this to take place, with an ad hoc Committee due to present a report on this by August 30 2018. This is imperative, because it will provide essential information that will inform the process of policy development which will then be used for any subsequent EWC actions.

No “free for all” land grab
While there is a tendency to panic, it is important to note that any amendment to section 25 which might take place will not affect other pertinent provisions of the Constitution, which will remain in effect and be applicable. It will not be a “free for all” land grab because the rule of law and legal rights framework would not disappear. This includes:

  • It is the State that must implement the expropriation process, not an individual. You therefore cannot lay claim to a property simply because you want one — you must be able to prove legitimate cause.
  • Expropriation must be justified, eg if there are six farms for sale in an area, it would be difficult to justify the expropriation of a seventh.
  • Procedural principles in the Constitution will still apply, such as any expropriation must be non-discriminatory eg you cannot just expropriate Afrikaner-owned farms.
  • There must be just administration — the principle of proportionality will apply to any legislative provision in the Bill/Act.

However, there is no doubt that there have been historic injustices in the current status quo of land ownership in South Africa. It is therefore important to look at how we arrived at this point and to consider what sacrifices we are prepared to make to remedy situations. This is particularly so where unjust land ownership transfer took place under Apartheid and both those who benefitted and those who were the victims are still living with the consequences. This would apply to eg forced land removals, the consolidation of homelands etc, where land was often acquired for nothing or a nominal payment. In such cases — which are also symbolic and evidently issues of justice — expropriation without compensation would seem appropriate.

Need for constructive engagement
The bottom line is that even if strong political will is exerted — which has been noticeably lacking in this area since 1994 — there is a long process ahead before any significant shifts are likely to take place. While it is very important to stay abreast of developments and to be well informed about (and involved in) the process, there is no need for undue alarm but rather for constructive engagement in this important national issue.

FOR SA will keep monitoring this issue — in particular with regard to the potential impact on religious communities in South Africa — and inform our constituency of developments and any opportunity for input in this regard.

*With thanks for the input of Adv Mike Pothier of the Southern African Catholic Bishops’ Conference (SACBC) Parliamentary Liaison Office.