Letter | President’s resolve to tackle corruption in SA welcomed

We, the church leadership of the Nelson Mandela metro, wish to congratulate Cyril Ramaphosa on his appointment as the president of the country and we welcome his declared intention to tackle the rampant corruption that is evident in our nation. We pray for God’s blessing on his endeavours. We take great confidence in the independence of our judiciary and look forward to those responsible for that corruption being brought to justice and the return of stolen funds. We commend the president for the changes he has made in appointing a new cabinet, but will continue to press for the further changes that still need to be made to ensure that the country’s leadership is of a high moral calibre. We, the church leaders, recognise the urgent need for land reform, but request that the issue be dealt with sensitively and in an appropriate manner so that it does not degenerate into a “smash and grab” scenario and civil war. Our country needs financial stability, foreign investment, economic growth, food security, job creation and social cohesion. We urge political parties not to use this important issue as a political football to gain mileage and to avoid racial comments that ratchet up racial tension in our beautiful nation. We urge our parliament and the judiciary, in the name of Christ Jesus, to exercise extreme caution when seeking to amend our constitution because of the obvious danger of discouraging investment and opening up our nation to further abuses of power. We, therefore, urge the government to seek proper ways to distribute land in an equitable manner which will encourage productivity and not harm the agriculture sector which contributes such a substantial portion of our economic growth.

We encourage the people of our nation not to panic, but to have confidence in the land distribution process to bring equity among our people and growth in our economy. We do not support the current political initiative to remove the mayor of the Nelson Mandela metropole. We believe it will have the catastrophic effect of seriously destabilising our metro at this critical juncture. It is our duty to protect the citizens under our care, especially the poor, and we believe that such action will severely prejudice them by disrupting service delivery and the provision of basic services. There is an African saying which says that when two elephants fight the grass around them gets trampled. We, in the Nelson Mandela metropole, do not want to be the ultimate losers and suffer the consequences of squabbles between political parties. In conclusion, we again reiterate that there is so much goodwill in our nation, with so many working for peace and stability, transparency and a sharing of our resources and the growth of our economy, that we should do as the president recently requested in his state of the nation address: to stand up and say “Here I am” and not let the positive momentum be derailed by a few. God bless you all. Signed on behalf of the Church Leadership Group of the Nelson Mandela metro: Pastor Daan Botha, Harvest Christian Church; Pastor Patrick Douglas-Henry, AFM; Bishop Jacob Freemantle, Methodist Church of SA (Grahamstown district); Apostle Neville Goldman, Ebenezer International; Rev Danie Mouton, director, synod Eastern Cape DRC; Rev Sipho Ncapayi, moderator, Presbyterian Church (Central and Southern Cape); Bishop Bethlehem Nopece, Anglican Church SA (PE diocese); Dr Dave Pedersen, Fountain Vineyard Church; Rev Rory Spence, Presbyterian Church; Pastor Russell Viljoen, Ebenezer North Community Church; Pastor Johannes Welskit, regional leader, EC AFM, and Bishop Vincent Zungu, Catholic diocese Port Elizabeth