Christian leaders, leaders of farming organisations and representatives of troubled communities came together this week in an extraordinary 5-hour emergency online meeting called by Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng to seek solutions for problems that are threatening to escalate already-high levels of violence in South Africa.
The long Zoom meeting on Tuesday in which more than 200 leaders heeded the call to pursue divine intervention in the nation through godly leadership was preceded and set-up by another emergency online meeting on Monday in which 30 leaders responded to a similar call “to seek God corporately and give direction to the nation, lest we miss our prophetic destiny”.
At the outset of Tuesday’s meeting, Mogoeng thanked attendees for coming together sacrificially at short notice. He explained that the meeting could run overtime because it was vital to hear from more than 20 people who were voices on the ground speaking for farmers and on behalf of trouble spots like Eldorado Park, Orange Farm, Soweto and the Cape Flats. He urged everybody to share freely but to speak the language of “unity and reconciliation” in the face of the common enemy — crime.
The decision to allow so many voices to be heard proved to be profound, as speakers expressed how they were deeply humbled by the experience and aware of God’s presence in the meeting. Commercial farming organisation spokesmen were listened to as they shared a heart cry from white farmers to be valued and recognised as Africans. As testimonies were shared everyone registered that farmers of all races were soft targets of brutal attacks which were often compounded by dysfunctional policing or courts. The link between a sharp rise in violence in Orange Farm and the cessation of regular prayer collaboration between the Church, police and clinics was highlighted. There were calls for restoration of the family structure, godly governance, poverty alleviation, an “agricultural Codesa” , a national conference on healing and a national safeguarding strategy.
Late on Tuesday night after everyone had spoken Mogoeng addressed the gathering, responding to topics and suggestions that had been voiced.
“Let us see today as a beginning of something great that is going to turn this country around in a positive direction,” he said.
He said that a summary of proposals arising from the meeting would be sent to participants for their input and for further discussion.
“I promise to engage with you again as we pursue unity and reconciliation, as we allow love to be the driving force behind what we do. Let us go out there and quell any volatility in our neighbourhoods and communities and rest assured that the best is around the corner,” he said before closing the meeting in prayer.