SA’s religious leaders call for country over party

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Church groups have called on parliament to turn the tide on “questionable leadership practices” as the country’s MPs head to cast their votes in the motion of no confidence in President Jacob Zuma.

In statement, the South African Council of Churches (SACC) called on the country’s leadership to use the opportunity to “end the rampant corruption encapsulated by the much lamented state of capture we find ourselves in”.

The group said it stood in solidarity with civil society groups and encouraged participation in organised marches and symbols of protest for the end of the Zuma Presidency which “we view as necessary for national renewal, rebuilding of trust in our institutions and the tackling of the myriad of challenges plaguing the country”.

The group categorically called on Parliament to be more decisive in supporting the motion of no confidence, which was brought forward by the Democratic Alliance. The religious leaders are of the view that the current government has lost all moral legitimacy to lead South Africa, the statement said, suggesting the country was in “a political and socio-economic quagmire”.

We also call for all faith communities to join hands in a nation-wide call to prayer to persuade our legislators to vote with their consciences and take decisions that will benefit the whole country and not the narrow political interests of a self-serving, cynical elite.

This is not the first time the religious group had made such statements. The SACC last called for President Zuma to step aside when the Constitutional Court faulted the conduct of the president for his failure to uphold his constitutional responsibility following the Public Protector’s findings and remedial action on the Nkandla saga. The escalating evidence stacked against the president has led the group to reaffirm its stance: “basic ethics should not be a matter of political manoeuvring and horse trading”.

If the motion of no confidence passes by the majority, the president and his cabinet will be required to resign. The Speaker assumes the role of President until, within 30 days, Parliament elects a new president who will constitute a new cabinet.

The SACC called on MPs to act according to their consciences. “We are all morally accountable for our deeds. There comes a time for each of us to decide whether we shall live within the lie or break out and live within the truth!”

“Now is the time for national interests to take precedence! Now is the time to change the trajectory of our country for the common good! Now is the time to arrest impunity and set the stage for open, transparent and accountable government that will honestly direct resources to the most needy of our society.”

The vote by secret ballot takes place on 8 August. SA

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* The opinions expressed here by Spotlight.Africa contributors and editors are their own and not official statements of the Society of Jesus in South Africa or of the Catholic Church unless explicitly stated.

 

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SA’s religious leaders call for country over party