In the Book of Kings in the Old Testament, God tells Elijah to leave the cave to which he has retreated, and to engage with the world. Similarly today, God compels us as the Church to come out of our sanctuaries and to speak out about the conditions that afflict our people. If we don’t, then as Jesus says in Luke’s Gospel, the very stones will cry out.
Today, Mr President, our hearts, our souls, our bodies and our minds are consumed with the national crisis that faces South Africa. The public’s money, life-saving money that is meant to provide oxygen to the breathless poor in the midst of a pandemic, has been misappropriated, stolen in brazen defiance of the commandment in the Book of Exodus which enjoins each of us: Thou shalt not steal.
Mr President, this is not only stealing. It is annihilating the very lives of the poorest, it is almost genocidal in effect. Corrupt big-wigs who have joined your party, not to serve the common good but to enrich themselves, act with impunity – their attitudes are debilitating, life-drenching. “Ha bana letswalo, Mr President, ba feteletse.” They are, like the scribes and Pharisees Jesus called out in Matthew’s Gospel, hypocrites.
At this time in the history of our country, we must draw a line in the sand and say anew: Thus says the Lord, on whom our hope is founded, the hypocrites and the thieves must return the stolen treasures of the poor, and they must be dispatched to jail, where they must wear orange jumpsuits.
Archbishop Thabo Makgoba 27 Aug 2020