Archbishop Thabo Makgoba. File picture: Courtney Africa/Independent Media
Cape Town – Archbishop Thabo Makgoba has told President Jacob Zuma in his Christmas sermon that the church will “ignore” his recent call for clergy to stay out of politics. The archbishop also raised the question of whether religious communities in South Africa should withdraw their moral support for the Government.

“Can you believe it?” he asked a congregation attending midnight Mass at St George's Cathedral, Cape Town. 

“A president of a democratic South Africa telling the Church to stay out of politics? You would be forgiven for thinking that you had climbed into a time machine and gone back 30 years into the past, when apartheid presidents said the same thing.”

He added: “As we look ahead to 2017, we see a ruling party at war with itself, crippled by division to the degree that some serving members of the Cabinet believe the President must step down. As a result we see a government becoming paralysed by an inability to achieve policy certainty and to chart a clear way ahead. People of faith need to begin asking: At what stage do we, as churches, as mosques, as synagogues, withdraw our moral support for a democratically-elected government?”

However, he said that South Africa's democracy was vibrant: “South Africa is not broken. We have a sound Constitution and we have seen over this past year that we have resilient institutions. The courts, especially the Constitutional Court, civil society, the media, whistle-blowers in the government and private sector, and the many honest and hard-working public servants we do have—they are all doing their jobs well.”

But, he added, the Church was not doing enough, and he announced a series of Lenten Bible studies for next year to address this. 

Click here for the full sermon.

Weekend Argus