Archbishop Thabo Makgoba. File picture: Courtney Africa/Independent Media
Cape Town – Anglican Archbishop of Cape Town Thabo Makgoba has appealed to South Africans to turn the crisis created by a “deeply corrupt regime” into an opportunity by creating a broad-based coalition to convene a “land Codesa” and an “economic Codesa”.
Preaching at the Easter Vigil at St George's Cathedral in Cape Town on Saturday night, Makgoba also called for different interests in South Africa, "whether rich or poor, whether black, white, coloured, or Indian, whether Christian, communist, Muslim, Hindu, or Jew" to form "a powerful, united coalition which puts first the interests of the poor and thereby the interests of all of us".
“Like many, I feel that the dream of South Africa sometimes feels more like a nightmare, a prolonged Passiontide, so to speak. Personal interests, corruption, private gain, entitlement, a vicious contempt for the poor and the common good, a culture of blatant lies and cronyism — and possibly worse — dominate our public landscape... it is as if we are entering the Zimbabwe moment...,” he said. “...some among our leaders have become slaves to a new form of colonial oppression. It is a moral and economic oppression that manifests itself in the form of one family's capture of our country and a president whose integrity, soul, and heart have been compromised.”
“At the heart of the message of the Resurrection of Jesus is the stubborn insistence that nothing is irrevocable. No betrayal is final. There is no loss that cannot be redeemed. It is never too late to start again," Makgoba said.
“The promise of Easter can be likened to what I call the new struggle in South Africa. In that struggle the realisation of the promise of Easter is measured not only by how soon we replace the current administration, but by how well we ready ourselves for what comes next.
"How do we prepare ourselves for the future after the end of a deeply corrupt regime? After President Zuma has fallen will those who benefit from his patronage fall too? Because if we change leaders but the patronage system that the current leadership has produced doesn't change; if state-owned enterprises, the prosecution and law-enforcement agencies remain captured by corrupt interests, we are no better off...," he said.
“Let us acknowledge that the old order, the economic system which makes us one of the most unequal societies on earth, must go. Let us challenge the narrative of the corrupt who use that old order as a figleaf behind which they hide their greed. As I have said before, we need to overcome the skewed racial ordering of our economy and the obscene inequality which it produces, not by indulging the rapacious greed of a few politically-connected individuals, but by building a new, fairer society which distributes wealth more equitably for all.
“We are God's engineers and everything of meaning and importance that we have accomplished in the past 24 years has been the result of refusing to be stopped by the walls that divide us and demonstrating our ability to be exceptional bridge builders. “Let the different interest groups and elements of our society which are committed to these ideals — whether rich or poor, whether black, white, coloured or Indian, whether Christian, communist, Muslim, Hindu or Jew — let us all find one another in a powerful, united coalition which puts first the interests of the poor and thereby the interests of all of us.
“While the [former presidents Nelson] Mandela and [Thabo] Mbeki administrations made mistakes — among them, shutting down dissent from within the ANC's parliamentary caucus — their record shows that if government pulls together representatives of different interest groups we can find rational, workable solutions to our most difficult problems. In that spirit let us turn this moment of crisis into a moment of opportunity and convene a land Codesa to negotiate a solution to this emotional issue and in the light of the downgrades of our credit ratings an economic Codesa too.
“In this new struggle let us reject the participation of white racists who don't believe that black people are capable of running a country or an economy. They are not welcome on marches and protests. Let us also not be distracted by hurtful and anachronistic comments on colonialism. Let us also reject those who want an unequal, tribal, sexist, and racialised South Africa, and who exploit the views of a minority of racists to portray their opponents as stooges and to threaten white compatriots for exercising their civic rights,” Makgoba said.