The United Congregational Church of Southern Africa, operating in Botswana, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa and Zimbabwe, has noted with deep concern the alarming escalation of conflict, gloom and discord in South Africa, with much of the ire directed at and centred around the person and actions of President Jacob Zuma. The ill-judged events that unfolded on Thursday 30 March and Friday 31 March with the cabinet reshuffle, has left a revolting stain on the social fabric of the nation, pushing the country to a dangerous precipice of social strife and unrest. As expected, South Africa is already witnessing the negative impact of the decisions and actions of the President, the very person entrusted with safeguarding the collective interest of the State and all the peoples of South Africa.
The economies of the countries of Southern Africa are interdependent of one another, with some of them even sharing a common monetary area and customs union with South Africa, the largest of the economies in the region. Thus, what happens in one of these countries, usually has a direct effect on the others, more so in the case of South Africa. This ill-conceived purge of Ministers in South Africa, and the concomitant negative economic and financial fallout for other countries in the region, has again shown how decisions and actions of President Zuma had direct impact on the affairs and the citizens of the neighbouring countries, including the ones in which our church operates. Hence, this multi-national church cannot remain silent in the face of these serious events in one of the constituent countries.
President Zuma has offered no credible explanation for his actions, which reinforces the perception that it was done for self-interest and for the benefit of those closely connected with the President. The Church cannot stand idle on the margins when the common good is sacrificed by the very people entrusted to safeguard and uphold it, especially the highest office in the land. The Church cannot turn a blind eye when state resources are looted because it is the poor and marginalised that suffer as a result of such greed and corrupt practices. The Church cannot remain inactive when good governance is compromised and basic democratic principles dithered for marginal self-interest.
Given the current situation in which South Africa finds it today and its importance to the Region, we call upon the President of the Republic of South Africa to act in a manner that will serve the interests of good governance, clean government, better service delivery and nation building, and provide solid, responsible, accountable leadership. If these standards are too hard for President Zuma to adhere to, as it appears to be the case, President Zuma should step aside and allow for others, more committed to the national interest and common good, to lead.
On Behalf the Officers and UCCSA Executive.
Yours in Christ,
Rev. Alistair Arends
UCCSA General Secretary