Statement by Archbishop Thabo Makgoba
The South African writer Ishtiyaq Shukri has written an open letter in which he responds to Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu’s recent stepping down as an ambassador for Oxfam after a scandal around allegations of sexual misconduct.
In the letter, Mr Shukri said he was the victim of sexual abuse by Anglican priests and accused Archbishop Desmond of never fully addressing what he claimed was “systematic and institutionalised sexual abuse happening in his own organisation”.
In response, Archbishop Tutu’s office issued the following statement:
“Archbishop Emeritus Tutu was mortified to learn this week of the suffering Ishtiyaq Shukri has described enduring at the hands of priests in Kimberley. Members of the clergy who break the law or behave immorally are as accountable for their actions – now, in the past and in the future – as any other member of God’s family. Archbishop Emeritus Tutu has retired from public life. He has the utmost faith in Archbishop Makgoba’s commitment to hold those clergy accused of wrongdoing to account, and support those whose trust in the clergy has been betrayed.”
Archbishop Thabo Makgoba issued this response:
The Synod of Bishops of the Anglican Church of Southern Africa (ACSA) was shocked and distressed to hear a report on Mr Shukri’s situation at a meeting last month.
His experiences were reported to the bishops while they were discussing the work of the Anglican Communion Safe Church Network, an international body on which our church is represented. The body was created as a result of what Anglican churches world-wide have acknowledged is “the tragic betrayal of trust by some clergy and church workers in Provinces and churches across the Communion, who have abused children and adults for whom they have had pastoral responsibility.”