The Archbishop of Cape Town, Thabo Makgoba, has called on South Africa’s President Jacob Zuma to be replaced, and for a “carefully targeted Cabinet reshuffle.” Archbishop Thabo, the Primate of Southern Africa, made his comments during a sermon at the Christmas Eve Midnight Mass in St George’s Cathedral, Cape Town. He said that President Zuma and his “cohorts of corruption” had been acting as if the South African treasury was their personal property. Archbishop Thabo’s comments follow the election last month of South Africa’s Deputy President, Cyril Ramaphosa, as the new leader of the ANC. Mr Ramaphosa is widely expected to be the next President of South Africa after the country’s General Election in 2019.
Archbishop Thabo told the congregation that he had been “challenging the leaders of our country to put the common good above all else”, and he reminded them that the faith communities will support the ANC’s new leadership, “but only on the strict condition that they must work together to re-establish values-based, ethical and moral leadership.”
He said: “A few nights ago, I watched the ANC’s new leader, Cyril Ramaphosa, promise us that his party will be more responsive and more accountable to us, and that it will reach out to community organisations and other organs of civil society. Moreover, he told us that the ANC will act against corruption, collusion and other economic crimes, whether they be in the private or public sector.
“Most importantly, he told us that the people of South Africa want action, not words.
“Whether he acknowledges it or not, he knows and we know that means he has to act in the matter of President Zuma. He knows and we know that President Zuma and his cohorts of corruption have been behaving as if they own the South African Treasury. But they don’t: the resources of the Treasury are the common property of all South Africans, to be deployed for the common good, not for the interests of a few.
“Shame on Mr Zuma for allowing people with dirty feet to walk through his mind and heart. And shame on his fellow leaders in the ANC for allowing him to get away with it until now.”
He said that the Christ Child “brings new life and the hope of new beginnings” to our corporate and political lives, in addition to our personal lives; but added: “bringing new life into the world means cutting the umbilical cord immediately after birth.”
He continued: “If Mr Ramaphosa wants the ANC to get a new lease of life, he and the new leadership will need to cut the umbilical cord which ties them to the Zuma era, quickly and decisively. Our economy is floundering, unemployment is rising and those cohorts of corruption who see they are losing influence are making ever more desperate attempts to loot what they can before their party is over.
“On top of that, the divisions in the ANC have led to a paralysis in decision-making and the implementation of policy. It is time to say, ‘Enough is enough’.
“I cannot see how two centres of power – one centred on the party and the other on the State – can collaborate when their values seem diametrically opposed to one another. I cannot see how the ANC will make a clean break with the past and set us on a new course unless the new leaders elected . . . last week, supported by their MPs in Parliament, act boldly and quickly to replace Mr Zuma as President of the country, and to follow that up with a carefully targeted Cabinet reshuffle. If they don't, we can see their fate written in the histories of other liberation movements in the world who have failed to adapt: they will lose power.”
- Click here to read the full text of Archbishop Thabo’s Christmas Eve sermon.