The ANC deputy president Cyril Ramaphosa has added his voice to those calling on Christians to stand up against the scourge of rape in the country.
Others who have made similar calls in the past week include organisers of a “10 000 Real Men March Against Violence Against Women & Children” in Cape Town on Saturday, March 16; African Christian Democratic Leader, Rev Kenneth Meshoe; and Rev Abe Sibiya, head of the DSTV ONE Gospel TV channel which has launched a national campaign to educate and unite people against rape.
But it is Ramaphosa’s speech at the Pentecostal Holiness Church’s centennial celebrations in Rustenburg on Friday, March 1, that got the most headlines. Addressing the church gathering after Meshoe, he said South Africa is a God-fearing country and that Christians need to be the moral conscience of the nation when it comes to respect for women and acting against rapists.
“This country requires leadership. It requires its consciousness to be raised. There is no better agent than Christians and the church to raise the morals, the moral consciousness of our nation,” he said.
‘The ANC stay close to God’s light’
Ramaphosa said the church was in the ANC’s “DNA” and the reason the party still had the position of chaplain-general in its office was to ensure that “the ANC stays close to God’s light and does everything “in accordance with what God prescribes”.
Reacting to the Deputy President’s speech Meshoe agreed that Christians should stand up against rape and be the moral compass in SA. But he said in a press release on Monday that the Government has introduced a number of laws that are contrary to Biblical requirements. These laws include abolition of corporal correction in the home, legalisation of same-sex marriages, and legalisation of abortion on demand.
Meshoe called on Ramaphosa to use his position to influence his organisation to amend all legislation that endorses, in Mr Ramaphosa’s words, “things that in the Bible are scorned upon”, so that the blessing of the Lord can rest upon our nation.
And in a press statement this week co-organisers of the Cape Town “10 000 Real Men” march to Parliament, Family Policy Institute (FPI), agreed with Ramaphosa’s view that Christians should provide a national moral compass, but said that Government is mostly responsible for the current rape crisis in South Africa.
“A dysfunctional justice system and scandal ridden police service has significantly contributed to government’s failure to apprehend, prosecute and convict the vast majority of perpetrators of sexual violence.
“However, the Christian Church must take up its responsibility to raise the spiritual and moral climate of the nation by proclaiming the timeless moral truths revealed in the Bible,” says the FPI statement.
“Thousands of Christian men will gather at 10h00 in Kaizergracht Street opposite the Cape Peninsula University of Technology (CPUT) in Cape Town and will march to Parliament to deliver a list of demands to government – which if implemented will significantly reduce the scourge of rapes in SA”, says FPI.
It says: “The list of demands include the immediate establishment of dedicated Sexual Offenses Courts in all major cities staffed with experienced magistrates and prosecutors to expedite convictions of perpetrators. Strengthen and increase the capacity of the Sexual Offenses Unit in SAPS to improve law enforcements abilities to quickly investigate and apprehend perpetrators of sexual crimes.
“The demands include, prohibiting in law the negative sexual stereotyping of women in the media, amend legislation to prohibit pornography on national television and install filters on the internet at tier-one level to block out sexually explicit content – to protect children from exposure.
“We call on newspapers to immediately stop selling women as merchandise in their classifieds. These adverts promote the objectification of women and assists pimps and traffickers.”
After the march leaders of various Christian Churches in SA will lead thousands of Christian men in a “Vow” to fulfil their roles as providers and protectors in their homes and to act as protectors of vulnerable women and children in society and to hold other men in their communities accountable to this pledge. The “Vow” will be distributed throughout the country in the hope of sparking a growing movement of significant change among the men of South Africa, says the FPI statement.
ONE Gospel launched its campaign against rape, with a brand new promo to feature on the channel from March 5. The promo encourages viewers to take the campaign seriously.
Channel head Rev Sibiya said: “Everyone of us have a Godly, human and community duty towards our country. We have a duty to say something and back it up with action. Nothing is impossible when people believe. Rape and murder cannot defeat a whole society that has risen above insurmountable challenges before. Add your voice and action to this great cause, let us secure the future of our mothers, sisters and daughters. Stop Rape!”
Jabu Hlongwane, who is also driving the ONE Gospel campaign commented: “We need to pray for our country, pray that evil does not take root of our society. Men in our country need to take a firm stand against rape and all form of violence against women and children in our country.”
The campaign has also been extended nationwide to schools around the country alongside other organisations. The campaign has been launched countrywide to not only educate but to unite the nation in the fight againt rape, says a ONE Gospel press release.