Dear Madam Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane, your office is increasingly blasted by the strong winds of protest calling for your resignation.
In this intemperate and restless season you will no doubt experience something of the anxiety expressed by King Henry IV. His royal cry, “Uneasy lies the head that wears a crown,” must surely find a home in your heart.
It is understandable, as a confessing Christian, that you will seek solace in the certitudes of faith and it is for this reason that I wish to break verbal bread with you this day.
When I heard you say, “I was placed in this position by the God that I serve” others who had made similar claims came to mind: Msholozi’s prediction the ANC would “rule until Jesus returned”; and, Hlaudi Motsoeneng, “I’m an intellectual born person. No one can take that away from me except God, no one can stop me to go up and up...”
Both these chaps, as you know, are pursuing other options. Hlaudi tried his hand at the hustings but his heart didn’t seem to be in it. And uBaba, bless his soul, is sharing his karate moves with Duduzane, ducking and jiving away okay, let’s not judge.
Leave that to Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng. I do wonder though if you might not have hinted at a self-fulfilling prophecy when you said, that “only He can remove me if He is of the view that I have failed”.
Being appointed by God is a matter of calling tested within the context of the Body of Christ, the Church, his bride. Consider how the Church engages one who considers a calling, in my instance, to the priesthood.
We can apply this approach, with variations where required, to those occupying public office. While still in my matric years I attended what was called the Fellowship of Vocation, where I met with fellow pilgrims on the path of uncertainty. For years I was numbered amongst those who dropped out of the process because of a lack of conviction.
Unlike a young man who approached an archbishop of a certain time and expressed the belief that he felt called to the priesthood. When asked how he knew this he replied that he had heard God speak to him. He was then told, “When that happens again, please ask God to put it writing.”
My sister, I share this perspective as a caution to all of us who dare to speak in God’s name. Saint Peter directs us, when we refer to our place in the heart of God, “to do so as one speaking the very words of God; whoever serves must do so with the strength that God supplies, so that God may be glorified in all things through Jesus Christ”.
Let our deeds testify to what we profess in our hearts and, in so doing, we guard against the sin of blasphemy.
We do not call ourselves. Even when I was ordained in the mid-1980s I struggled, not so much with faith, but with whether I really was called to be a priest. Over time, affirmation came from the people in the parishes where I had been placed to serve.
Their response to my sometimes fumbling pastoral care assured me of the love of God and how she embraces us despite our perpetual imperfections. This I experienced, many times unexpectedly so, in and through the lives of his saints, the faithful who proclaim with their lives, the goodness of God.
Likewise may you be guided and blessed by one of the Pillars of Vision 2023: “Empowering people to become their own liberators, who see themselves as Public Protector in their own right.”
* Weeder is the dean of St George’s Cathedral.
** The views expressed here are not necessarily those of Independent Media.