Church leaders protest against Covid-19 graft
Durban – Church leaders united at government offices across the country in a national silent protest against Covid-19 corruption.
Top KwaZulu-Natal church leaders gathered outside the Durban and Pietermaritzburg offices of Premier Sihle Zikalala yesterday and expressed their outrage using posters.
The leaders from a broad range of denominations and traditions stood in silent prayer and protested for an hour, rotating between 4-6 people every 15-20 minutes in adherence with lockdown level 2 regulations.
Some of the posters read, “The corrupt belong in jail”, “Corruption is not my heritage” and “Corruption is a sin against God and the poor.”
The national protest was convened by the South African Council of Churches.
Last month, Cardinal Wilfrid Napier, who is the chairperson of the KZN Church Leaders Group (KZNCLG), demanded that the provincial and national governments publish the names and responsibilities of those entrusted to administer money to those in need during the lockdown.
He noted corruption regarding food vouchers, personal protective equipment; provision of field hospitals, clinics and other public places of care; small business and informal traders assistance, among others.
“We call on the premier to make public who has been implicated in what way and the amounts of money at issue,” he said.
Napier called on voters to raise their voices against the misuse of power.
“We stand with others who have called on all members of the public to repudiate with absolute contempt these actions by those in leadership, who have quite literally stolen the food out of the mouths of starving children, women and men,” he said.
The KZN Christian Council (KZNCC) said in a statement on Monday that the silent protest allowed church leaders to lend their moral voice to this important conversation about corruption through their physical presence outside the premier’s offices.
KZNCC said that for the first time in living memory a broad and inclusive partnership of traditional, independent, Pentecostal churches and Christian associations among others across all demographics, languages and geographical locations throughout KZN united in response to the Covid19 pandemic.
The council said an informal coalition had been developed from the KZNCC networks to provide spiritual, prayerful, practical, financial, logistical and physical support through the KZN Covid-19: Churches Respond project.
The vast combined network is used as a relief mechanism and information resource, according to the KZNCC.