Church leaders in all nine provinces of South Africa participated on Tuesday in hour-long silent protests against Covid-19 corruption.
The protests are part of a campaign launched nationally by the South African Council of Churches under the banner #CorruptionIsNotOurHeritage, a reference to September being Heritage Month in SA. The campaign which will continue until the end of the month aims to try and bring those implicated in government graft to account.
The SACC said it decided on silent prayer to show that the church is speechless at this level of fraud.
In Gauteng a delegation of senior church leaders including SACC general secretary Bishop Malusi Mpumlwana demonstrated outside the Union Buildings. In Cape Town a group including Anglican Archbishop of Cape Town, Thabo Makgoba, and Western Cape SACC chairperson Lionel Louw, church leaders protested outside St George’s Cathedral before heading to the provincial legislature, displaying banners with messages such as “corruption is a sin”.
Other groups of church leaders held silent protests outside provincial offices across the country.
Bishop Mpumlwana said: “As the SACC, we have dedicated this Heritage month to a campaign that will denounce corruption as being part of the South African identity. We are saying as the churches and active citizens, that we refuse for our nation’s culture and heritage to be one of stealing, and defrauding of public resources. Corruption, especially this blatant looting of COVID-19 funds that has been reported, is criminal and continues to cost us lives and livelihoods as a country.”
Speaking in Cape Town, Louw said: “This is an event for today, but there is an ongoing campaign. There will be webinars that will be happening and later there will be an inter-faith service towards the end of this month.”
Reverend Jan Cloete, the moderator of the Synod of the Calvyn Protestant Church of South Africa, said in a statement: “The church acknowledges the steep decline in the moral fibre of the citizenry of the country.
“The indescribable acts of greed and corruption that has befallen our government and many of our leaders is extremely disappointing.
“The Church calls for these corrupt leaders to be held accountable immediately, and that their participation in government activities be suspended with immediate effect. We call on President Cyril Ramaphosa to act decisively without fear or favour. Our democracy is at stake.”