Two months ago the police shooting of 34 striking miners on the Rustenburg platinum belt made world headlines. On Saturday, the eyes of Christians in South Africa and around the world will be on the Olympia Park Stadium in Rustenburg where evangelist Angus Buchan will be preaching the Gospel to tens of thousands of people from an area at the epicentre of a wave of labour unrest that is hurting the economy and exposing deep, grassroots grievances.
The aptly named “New Beginning” crusade which aims to bring reconciliation, restoration and revival to the hurting North West province and the rest of South Africa will be broadcast live on God TV and beamed worldwide from the stadium at 13:00 with a replay at 22:00. The live broadcast will be hosted by God TV co-founder and CEO Rory Alec who is travelling to Rustenburg — his former hometown — from London, says God TV in a press release. (Click here for guide on tuning in to God TV).
Pastor Francois Burger, a spokesman for the crusade organisers, said he expected the 35 000 capacity stadium to be full with an overflow of thousands of people outside the venue. He said that the event has also grabbed attention overseas and evangelists such as Billy Graham and Reinard Bonke had communicated that they were praying for it.
He said that the power of the Gospel had already been at work in the run-up to the event as more than 1 000 people had made commitments to Christ during church outreaches to mine hostels. More than 30 busses will ferry miners and their families to the stadium on Saturday.
God’s intervention was also evident in the unity that had developed between local churches through prayer meetings and outreaches, and the speed with which the event had come together: the organising team had achieved in less than a month what would normally take a year to arrange.
Hundreds at pre-rally prayer hour
In the latest display of unity hundreds of believers, including local church leaders, gathered at the stadium yesterday evening for a pre-rally prayer hour — despite rain and a thunderstorm. During the prayer time Burger phoned Buchan in KwaZulu-Natal and ‘Uncle Angus’ addressed and prayed for the gathering through a phone link-up with the stadium sound system. Buchan said the crusade was a historical event that will impact the whole of South Africa.
Buchan, who maintains that the destiny of South Africa depends on people who believe in Jesus Christ and not on politicians, will preach on 2 Chronicles 7:14 in which God promises His people that if they humble themselves and pray and turn from their wicked ways, He will hear from Heaven and forgive their sins and heal the land.
‘New Beginning’ will start with the world famous Soweto Gospel Choir and include worship with the 3R Team and Joe Niemand. Prayers will be led by local pastors; Bishop Ed Bilong, President of Vision Africa Changers and Pastor Bert Pretorius of 3C Church in Pretoria, who encouraged believers at last night’s stadium prayer gathering. Other notable guest participants include Dr Dirkie van der Spuy of Moroletapark Church, Pretoria; Dr Kenneth Meshoe, leader of the African Christian Democratic Party and Pastor Nevil Norden of Living Word Church.
Burger said the financing of the R1,2 million crusade costs was still a faith challenge. But he preferred to think of the money in terms of it costing R70 per person to make an eternal impact on his or her life.
The gates will open at 11:00 on Saturday. Tickets are available on iTickets for free but Burger appealed to people to make a small donation towards the costs. Donations can be made by clicking on the donation box on iTickets. More information about tickets, bookings and alternative methods of donating can be obtained from Willie Marais at 083 408 2303 or firstname.lastname@example.org or from Lofpark Ministries at email@example.com.
While there is a great buzz of hope and expectancy surrounding the “New Beginning” crusade, media reports today reflect that the mining industry in the Rustenburg area and elsewhere in South Africa are still in the grip of unrest. There were reports of a new work stoppage today at the Lonmin mine at Marikana where miners have been back at work for about a month. The issue is alleged police harassment of miners. At Goldfields Beatrix number four shaft in the Free State thousands of miners who have been on a wildcat strike since September 24 heeded an ultimatum to return to work today or face dismissal. And in an analysis published today Daily Maverick writes that as many as 100 000 miners are currently striking across the industry. The report highlights areas of conflict and perceived injustices in a struggle involving mine bosses, miners, competing unions, the police and the Government.
‘God giving SA second chance at racial reconciliation’
In a letter to intercessors, a Cape Town businessman, Peter Flynn, relays the story of his business partner Garth Watson, who recently spent time in Rustenburg saying: “The growing sense amongst the leadership there is that God is giving South Africa a second chance at racial reconciliation and restitution – moving beyond issues of voting rights and ‘opportunity’ to genuine and practical justice. We need God’s conviction to open our eyes to the ways in which we as a nation have committed injustices which have offended Him and then His wisdom to understand what we need to do to right these things.”
He also writes: “So, as things stand, Angus Buchan is speaking at a rally at Rustenburg on 20 October 2012. He has said he will like to address the miners – which I read to mean he wishes to see a broad diversity of people in attendance, not just the usual ‘rally crowd’. This confirms the Spirit is speaking consistently about genuine unity.”
“Please pray for Rustenburg, which seems to find itself at the crucible of many of the issues that are coming to a head in our nation and as a result, a major spiritual battle. Pray for the rally – that its not the end, but just part of this thing gathering momentum. May the rally be fully representative – of every tribe and tongue. May the Spirit of God Himself give the instructions and may there be unity in hearing and doing His will.”