The Archbishop of Cape Town, Thabo Makgoba, has said that faith leaders in the country will support the new leadership of the ANC, but only if they work together to re-establish values-based, ethical and moral leadership. Speaking on behalf of the National Church Leaders’ Forum, he said that he was looking forward to “critical engagement” with South Africa’s Deputy President, Cyril Ramaphosa, who was elected ANC leader at a party conference yesterday. The conference saw new people appointed to a number of senior ANC leadership positions. “The country is looking to them to work for the common good, to promote equality of opportunity and to uphold the highest ethical standards,” Archbishop Thabo said.
Ramaphosa narrowly defeated his rival, Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma – the ex-wife of current South African President Jacob Zuma – by just 179 votes. Ramaphosa polled 2,440 votes from party delegates; while Dlamini-Zuma obtained 2,261. He is likely to be elected President of South Africa in 2019: the ANC has been in power in South Africa since the Apartheid era collapsed 23 years ago; but it has been rocked by allegations of corruption – much of it centred on the current President. Ramaphosa is expected to begin a reform of the party and a purge of corrupt practices.
“On behalf of the Anglican Church of Southern Africa and the National Church Leaders’ Forum, I congratulate the new leadership of the ANC on their election,” Archbishop Thabo said. “As people of faith, our hope is always in God and not in any political party or leader. But we do need leaders of integrity who will put the common good above all else.
“I look forward to critical engagement with the new leaders of the ANC. The country is looking to them to work for the common good, to promote equality of opportunity and to uphold the highest ethical standards.
“The new leaders and their supporters can count on the support of the faith community – but only if they work together to re-establish values-based, ethical and moral leadership.”
Ramaphosa’s election was also welcomed by the Archbishop Emeritus of Cape Town, Njongonkulu Ndungane, who warned that “much still needs to be done to set South Africa back on the right track.”
He said that Ramaphosa had many skills that “eminently qualify him” for the Presidency of South Africa, should the ANC be successful in the 2019 elections. “Among these are his role in the trade union movement, his negotiating skills, his leadership in the crafting of our Constitution, his resolute conviction to fight corruption, his commitment to tackling state capture,” he said.
Archbishop Thabo Makgoba and other Christian leaders pray for South Africa’s Deputy President, Cyril Ramaphosa, at Bishopscourt in June 2017.
Photo: Anglican Church of Southern Africa
“It is heartening that there is general consensus from business, labour, civil society, and the religious community that he will lead South Africa on a new path back to the halcyon days of Nelson Mandela.
“As a religious leader, my prayers are with him and those who he will choose to lead with him. As a country, we simply have no time left to build the damage caused by the Zuma Presidency.
Archbishop Emeritus Ndungane was the Archbishop of Cape Town and Primate of Southern Africa from 1996 until his retirement in September 2007. He now serves as President of African Monitor, an independent organisation that monitors the development of grassroots communities across the continent of Africa.