Forgive us for attacks on foreign nationals, says bishop
During a special service streamed to 46 of the church’s 62 branches across South Africa and outside the country’s borders, Sono sank to his knees and prayed for South Africans to be forgiven for xenophobic attacks.
“The action of the few who decided to loot the shop of a foreign national cost Bafana Bafana a game and led to the closure of South African embassies in certain countries,” he said.
Zambia, followed by Madagascar, pulled out of friendly matches against South Africa as a result of the attacks against foreigners. In addition, the country temporarily closed its diplomatic missions in Nigeria.
The Grace Bible Church founder appealed to foreign nationals in the church to go to the front, where he greeted them and apologised for the suffering they went through.
In a statement following the emotional service, the church expressed concern over the recent violence and looting of businesses in the country. “The church condemns the violence and calls on all parties to come together to find solutions to some of the societal problems that have led to this latest outbreak of destruction of property and looting of businesses as it could lead to instability within communities.”
Sono called for leaders from all sectors to join him in leading the country into calmer waters. He said that bridges needed to be built among all citizens and people living and doing business in South Africa so that there was one vision for the country, which was stability, safety and harmony among the people.
He emphasised that the rule of law must be observed and restored by law enforcement agencies.
The church held pastoral visit sessions yesterday among affected communities. “We offered support, prayer and counselling as a way to find healing among all the parties involved as a starting point.
“What is important is to acknowledge that we are all from one continent and therefore one people. It is important to find a common understanding within the limits of the laws of this country to solve whatever differences we have.
“We therefore call for our humanity to prevail and chart a way forward to a brighter future, not only for South Africa, but for the entire continent of Africa to rise up in glory,” said Sono.
Church and other community leaders are taking the lead in the fight against xenophobia and gender based violence.