The Church is making its mark by helping to lead the charge against corruption and for a just and equal society as part of the Unite Against Corruption campaign, according to various national Christian leaders.
Various civil society leaders commented on the participation and leadership not only of Christian leaders, but also ordinary Christians in the marches against corruption in this week, saying that this has set the stage for larger demonstrations in October by the union sector. Marches were held in various centres on Wednesday (September 30, 2015) with the largest ones being in Cape Town and Pretoria.
About four thousand people marched in Cape Town despite pouring rain at times, demanding an end to corruption in the public and private sectors, saying the fight against corruption is a fight for the soul of South Africa as a nation.
Leaders from more than 300 religious groups, NGOs and labour unions called on the government to take note of the united movement that is forming around the fight against corruption. School children, housewives, workers and leaders from all income and racial groups walked side by side, singing struggle songs.
A list of demands made collectively by the Unite Against Corruption leadership was read aloud by two university students, to Mr Sid Peimer, Executive Director of the Cape Town Chamber of Commerce.
A time to be courageous
At the march, Archbishop Thabo Makgoba of the Anglican Church, said the time to be courageous has come, as it did during the fight against apartheid. He encouraged South Africans to be brave enough to not be silent when they witness corrupt activities and to protect whistle-blowers.
“Our country deserves better than the way our leaders are behaving now. Our country’s communities deserve better. Our families deserve better. Our children deserve better.
“Too much of our country’s destiny is in the hands of corrupt leaders and bureaucrats; now it must pass into the hands of our 50 million citizens.
“May we rally today and every single month going forward, to courageously look inwards and disinfect ourselves of all that is not values-based. Let those of us who are Christians uphold a vision of the resurrected Christ who in overcoming death sent a very important message about courage, the courage that survived even death.”
Lighting up the streets
Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu could not attend the marches due to ill health, but issued a short statement in support.
“A society that assigns resources on the basis of people’s proximity to power is no less sinful to one assigning resources on the basis of skin colour.
“We live in a beautiful country richly endowed with natural resources. Each is entitled to a fair share. Nobody is more entitled than anyone else — and nobody is more, or less, accountable.”
Rev Moss Ntlha, Secretary General of The Evangelical Alliance of Southern Africa, said that for him, the march had “incarnational significance.”
“It was a picture of godly men and women inserted in a justice struggle alongside those less certain that there is a God. We are never going to find a world in which we can choose the terrain of our witness. It will always be a messy place.
“At the march, the church lit up its light in the streets.”
Christian artists contribute
Leigh Erasmus, a guitarist, worship leader and songwriter from His People City Bowl church led worship at the start of the march. Rain had just begun to fall on the crowd when she sang her original song called “Cape Town will be saved.”
Siki Dlanga, a poet who also performed at the march, said this brought a worshipful, repentant atmosphere to the march.
“She sang with power and authority from the Holy Spirit.
“People from different communities and beliefs lifted up their hands in worship as she sang that Cape Town would be saved. The atmosphere of God’s presence seemed to be ministering to people deeply, like rain in a thirsty land, even as our clothes got wet from the drizzle.”
Noting the contribution of the Church
Ronnie Kasrils from the United Front said to fight corruption is South Africans’ duty to their country. He also appreciated the wide spectrum of ordinary South Africans attending the march.
“There is nothing like the sound of marching feet as people of all formations rise up in this troubled world.”
He complimented religious leaders — including the Pope — for their consistent commitment to social justice. The business world, he continued, should put people before profit.
“What are you really doing? Are you acting decisively?” Was his challenge to national leaders.
Addressing the Pretoria march in which about 3 000 people marched to the Union Buildings, the Presiding Bishop of the Methodist Church of SA and President of the SA Council of Churches, Bishop Ziphozihle Siwa started his speech by asking God to punish leaders who are corrupt and cleanse South Africa of them, reports Eyewitness News.
“I stand here to say that in the name God, may they not sleep well until there is change,” he said.