Archbishop Thabo Makgoba today appealed for reconciliation among members of the Zulu Royal Family and called for “justice and accountability” from the country’s leaders.
Delivering a homily at the celebration of the coronation of King MisuZulu Sinqobile kaZwelithini, he warned that “the basic consensus which has underpinned our nation since 1994 is crumbling” and suggested the country hold a “national indaba”.
He also declared the religious community’s “strong support” for President Cyril Ramaphosa’s initiatives to end state capture, but also urged:
- Action against “mafias in the taxi and construction industries” who “hold legitimate business people to ransom, closing down their operations and even killing their staff if they refuse to pay protection money”;
- The bringing to justice of those responsible for the killing of members of Abahlali baseMjondolo;
- An end to the scapegoating of migrants from elsewhere in Africa.
The relevant paragraphs of his homily follow. The full text of the homily can be found here:
“Your Majesty, you too can build and leave a powerful legacy of your own. Your grandmother was a person who stood tall in society; it does not matter that you are called to this high office, with its onerous responsibilities, when you are young. You too can grow and become tall in the eyes of the Zulu nation, the South African nation and the world. We are saddened by the recent dissension within the Royal Family, for it does not build but detracts from the legacy that King Zwelithini left behind. It is my humble prayer that in the near future you may be able to find each other and reconcile.
“Reconciliation is very critical. Our church recognises that for reconciliation, which God wants to see happen, there needs to be both justice and accountability. Thus in the Church we have called for the historic legacy of colonialism to be deconstructed and any remaining complicity of our member churches in British and American empires to be ended.
“But God’s call for reconciliation is a challenge not only to the Royal Family and the Church: it is a challenge to us all. And for reconciliation to be achieved in our divided society in South Africa today, there needs to be both justice and accountability, the achievement of which is the responsibility of all, including both traditional and elected leaders.
“Mr President, we are grateful for your steadfast focus on rooting out state capture from the public and private sectors, and the faith community pledges its strong support for your latest initiatives. But, Mr President, no one will be more aware than yourself of how public trust in government has been corroded by leaders who have elevated the pursuit of private profit above ethical public service in the past decade.
“In this Province and nationally, can we say that justice and accountability are served when mafias in the taxi and construction industries hold legitimate business people to ransom, closing down their operations and even killing their staff if they refuse to pay protection money?
“Can we say, Mr President, that justice and accountability are served when the State fails to bring to justice all those responsible for the killing of Abahlali baseMjondolo.
“Both nationally and in this Province, Mr President, can we say that justice and accountability are served when migrants from elsewhere in Africa are scapegoated for just being here?
“In the private sector, can we say that justice and accountability are served when the intergenerational inequality of the apartheid era continues, when the sons and daughters of the wealthy flourish, while the sons and daughters of the poor are caught in a self-perpetuating spiral of inadequate education, denied opportunities and poverty?
“Your Majesty and Mr President, as I end, the basic consensus which has underpinned our nation since 1994 is crumbling. Levels of distrust are higher than ever before. Confidence in leaders, whether in the public or private sector, is at a record low. Is it not time for all of us – traditional leaders, political leaders, civil society, religious leaders, leaders in the economy representing both capital and labour – for all of us to come together to convene consultations – culminating in a National Indaba – as a way of growing up as a nation and beginning to heal a society characterised by fear and a damaged psyche?
“Your Majesty, as you embark upon your reign as King of a nation that is recognised internationally as one of the greatest in Africa, I believe you are being called upon to step up and emulate the highest traditions of your ancestors. I pray that you will summon the resources of our faith and allow God to help you fulfill this honourable calling.”