Do the honourable thing Mr. President – Release from the MCSA

SA flag 

The Methodist Church of Southern Africa welcomes the unanimous judgement by the Constitutional Court on the Nkandla matter. Of crucial importance is comment by Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng that “ours is a genuine and vibrant constitutional democracy capable of self-correction and self-preservation… and that the rule of law is imperative for the survival of democracy.”

 

The clarification of the powers of the Public Protector is also welcome and will hopefully serve as a deterrent to any who would want to undermine any Chapter 9 institutions. The remedial action articulated in the Public Protector’ report and those expounded by the Constitutional Court must be implemented without further delay. The public resources that were wasted on unnecessary investigations are regrettable.

 

It is sad that the judgement found that the President violated the Constitution and his oath of office in that he “failed to uphold, defend and respect the Constitution as the supreme law of the land...”  Furthermore, he defied the orders  by the Public Protector to pay back a portion of the money for the non-security upgrades to Nkandla, backed by the National Assembly which too was found to have acted unconstitutionally and in flagrant violation of their duty to protect the constitution.

These events call for President Zuma to do the honourable thing and resign to save himself, the ANC and the nation as a whole from further embarrassment and ruin. This will go a long way in assisting his supporters to accept his exit, without the polarisation of society. If this does not happen, we the people of South Africa must put pressure on the ANC and Parliament to ‘assist’ the President to vacate office peacefully and constitutionally. The president’s embattled term of office has been marred with too many unresolved claims and scandals including Nkandla, the Arms deal debacle, and the recent revelations of alleged State capture by the Gupta’s  and the time has come to put the country first.
We further call on the South African public to learn from these unfortunate events and rally together towards building of a future that promises hope and wellbeing for all. We have a duty to protect our constitutional democracy for the generations to come.

 

We further pray that the National Assembly will in future act in a manner that demonstrates that they put the interests of the country first, uphold the trust placed in them by the electorate and are not just blind pawns and protectors of any individual.

 

This is the time to soak the nation in prayer and the MCSA calls on all people of faith to join together in prayer for peaceful resolution and possible transition into the post-Nkandla era.

 

Statement released by Bishop Ziphozihle Siwa

Presiding Bishop of the Methodist Church of Southern Africa

 

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Human Rights’ Day

Human Rights Day blog

Human Rights’ Day

Today we celebrate human rights day – and it is a bittersweet celebration. On the one hand we celebrate the fact that the constitution of our nation is one of the best and most progressive in the world, affording us the basic rights that identify and uphold the dignity of every person.

On the other hand, we remember the history of this day and the fact that our constitution was born out of great pain and unspeakable atrocities against the rights of many. We remember the victims of the Sharpville Massacre on 21 March 1960. We remember the 69 people who lost their lives fighting for their basic human rights that day… 69 families, who mourned, and a nation that was broken.

Today, we also mourn the fact that despite many advances and much progress that has been made in our country, we know that the rights of many are still trampled, still negated and still denied. Wherever oppression reigns, where hatred wins out, where greed and corruption rule, where bias remains, where violence is rife, rights are violated.

So we confess our part in denying others their rights and we determine anew as the Church and the people of God to do all we can to fight against the injustices that rob our fellow citizens in South Africa and in the Kingdom of God, of their rights. We pray for justice and peace and a world in which the dignity of each person will respected as a beloved child of God.

 

A HUMAN RIGHTS’ DAY PRAYER

Gracious God,

As we celebrate Human Rights’ Day today we thank you for the rights and freedoms we enjoy.

We acknowledge and confess Lord, that there are many ways in which we disrespect, disregard and trample on the rights of others. Help us, Jesus, to see people through Your eyes and to be a voice for the voiceless; to stand against injustice, to fight against discrimination and to do all we can to make our world one in which every person’s basic human dignity and rights are upheld.

We celebrate and remember this day as we enter into Holy Week, in which we remember how you laid down all your rights, disregarded your Kingly status and chose to become like your creations to bridge the divide between humanity and God. We thank You that You died for each and every person, regardless of their social status or value in the eyes of the world because each of us is precious beyond measure in Your eyes.

Thank you for Your sacrifice, Lord. Thank you for the cross, and thank You that You rose in victory, giving us hope and life for all of eternity.

 In Jesus’ Name,

Amen.

Unity

Unity2

Unity is such a little word, and yet, it is something that is difficult for human beings to attain. Division and divisiveness seem to be our natural state. We somehow naturally tend towards exclusion, towards cliques and accepting only those who are like us. We find reasons to think we are better than others and justify keeping certain people on the outside.

For the last few years, God has been stirring something in my heart about unity – this complicated and yet, really simple thing that is an essential ingredient in His Kingdom.

Jesus prayed, “And I do not pray for these alone, but for those who will believe in Me through their word, that they may all be one, as You, Father are in Me, and I in You, that they also may be one in Us, so that the world may believe that You have sent Me.” (John 17:20-21)

Unity mattered to Jesus then and it matters to Him now. He wanted His followers to be united and intimately connected to each other so that the world would believe in Him. There are many things that divide us – denominational differences, customs, cultures, language, creeds… and yet, there is so much that unites. At the core of our faith is a belief in a loving God who loves each of us just the same, and a Saviour who desires us to be united in Him.

I pray, that Jesus’ prayer would become our prayer too.

May we be one.

 “In essentials, unity; in non-essentials, liberty; in all things, love.” – St. Augustine

University protests and racism in SA

 

The last few weeks have been a time of upheaval in our nation in the form of student protests with the ugly reality of deeply rooted racism and prejudice exposed once again. Students who have worked hard to get into university have been denied their ability to attend classes and engage in their studies. Many have been victimised and afraid and while there has been some order restored for the moment, our country feels fractured and vulnerable. While all this rages on around us, it reveals again the deep wounds of our past that we all still carry. It reveals that perhaps we have not come as far as we would have hoped and that we still have a lot to do to become the nation I believe, deep down, we all hope and believe we can be.

The events that have transpired – that threaten to keep as separated from one another and to sow prejudice and dissention – have reminded us to look deep within our own souls again and to face, the often unpleasant, realities we confront there. We must acknowledge and admit that white privilege is real, however defensive that may make some. We must face the reality that Afrikaans is still associated as the language of the oppressor, and feels like a threat to the dignity of some. We must be confronted by the reality that there are students who may have been “born free”, but are not free from the deep woundedness and hatred. We must deal with the fact that there are clearly some young people in our nation who do not have appropriate channels to voice their pain, frustration and ideologies in constructive ways – or that they have not been taught the skills to manage their reality and their desire to see transformation. He have to face the stark truth that as South Africans – all South Africans – there are clearly areas in which we have failed.

And yet, in the midst of all the negative events of the last few weeks, there is hope. As some students gathered to provoke violence, to vandalise and to break down, others gathered in small and then larger circles, black and white, English, Sesotho, Zulu and Afrikaans, and they prayed. They sang songs of praise to God who does not see us as black and white, but as His beloved children. They cried out for peace and healing to the only One Who is able to bring healing and restoration.

As I watched and listened to all that has been going on, I was filled with fear, dread and anxiety, but I was also filled with incredible hope. While we serve our living God, who unites, Whose perfect love drives out fear, and Who teaches us how to forgive and have compassion for one another, there is always hope. I believe that people who call themselves Christ followers have a responsibility to step up, now, in this moment, and live out their faith in the way they relate to others. Let the church be an example of integration, of mutual understanding, of forgiveness and co-operation. Let us lead the way. Let us show the young people of our nation how to find their voice and to speak about things they care about in ways that bring life and peace. Let us remind each other and ourselves that prejudice of any kind has no place in Christian community, in our world or in our hearts.

Love is the greatest weapon of the Christian. Jesus taught us that there is nothing love cannot overcome. Let the Christian community be the light as it has been on campuses this last week. Let us stand together. Let us vehemently fight against all that separates us, all that is unjust and keeps us from identifying with the humanity and the image of God within each other, and let us pray for our nation. Let us be peace-makers and relationship-builders and let us seek God together.

“… I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you.”
John 17:20-21