SACBC: Citizens, Reclaim the Dream
A call from the Southern African Catholic Bishops’ Conference to All Citizens to Reclaim the Dream
Thirty years after the joy of our democratic elections, we remain grateful that our democratic structures have withstood numerous attempts by some to weaken them. The separation of powers has stood firm, and respect for the rule of law has prevailed. We are encouraged by the goodwill of many leaders and fellow citizens in the face of the numerous crises that bedevil our country.
It is now the time to reclaim the dream.
Our faith in God and in the inherent goodness of our fellow citizens urges us to work together in protecting the poor and vulnerable, in giving new hope to so many who have lost hope and in winning the confidence of our youth.
The ever-growing gap between those who have and have not, the deteriorating infrastructure, and rampant corruption on the part of self-serving citizens – we do not allow these to rob us of the hope that together we can salvage our vision of a country which is home to all.
As Catholic leaders, we call on all our fellow citizens to work for a better future for our country. There is no future in paralysing disillusionment and despair. This only leads to more hopelessness, discouraging our youth, in particular, from taking their rightful place in the democratic institutions that are the fabric of our hard-won democracy.
We salute the work of the State Capture Commission, and we find it disheartening that we are slow to recognise the damage of cadre deployment and nepotism in that it robs old and young, those who are ably qualified, from making their rightful contribution to society.
As church leaders, we wish to hold ourselves accountable and call for accountability and transparency in exercising power and using resources. We recognise that the crisis we face as a country is not only political. It is also a spiritual and moral crisis. Therefore, we add our voice to those who justly denounce the greed of the few who enrich themselves at the expense of the many. Any form of corruption, nepotism, vandalism or dereliction of duty weakens the fabric of society and works against the common good.
Our Catholic faith urges us ALL to promote the common good.
We humbly call on political leaders, public officials, civil servants, members of the judiciary, senior executives in the corporate sector, businesspeople and all members of the public to recognise in the current situation an opportunity to reawaken and reclaim the dream of every South African. We must all engage in the efforts to repair our country.
We truly appreciate those brave brothers and sisters who, at great risk, denounce wrongdoing and break the conspiracy of silence. We support them and commit ourselves to stand by them and protect them. We recognise that they are motivated to work for the common good.
Striving for the common good should motivate everyone: the executives, tempted to reward themselves with obscenely high salaries,and those impoverished, drawn to petty thieving and destruction of the infrastructures. Working for the common good affirms the dignity and equal rights of everyone and promotes equal opportunities for all.
Reclaiming a sense of belonging and transcending barriers of race, class, age and gender promotes the restoration of our shattered dream.
God bless South Africa and all her citizens.
On behalf of all the bishops.
29 August 2023