Pastoral process for a nation in trauma

HEAVY BURDEN: Bishop Malusi Mpumlwana during the release of the South African Council of Churches’ Unburdening Panel report last week Picture: GALLO IMAGES
HEAVY BURDEN: Bishop Malusi Mpumlwana during the release of the South African Council of Churches’ Unburdening Panel report last week Picture: GALLO IMAGES
While Busisiwe Mkhwebane sits flat on the State of Capture report, and the ANC acts all dumb, the South African Council of Churches has released the explosive Unburdening Panel report.

It is a timely report, produced by an admirably brave initiative of leadership by the church.

“Careful analysis makes the case for the following observatory trends of inappropriate control of state systems through a power elite that is pivoted around the president that is systemically syphoning the assets of the state” (City Press, May 21, “How the capture cancer spread”).

These were the words of SACC general secretary Bishop Malusi Mpumlwana during the release of the report recently at the Regina Mundi Catholic Church in Soweto. The church makes no pretence that the report is a legal document, preferring to refer to it as a “pastoral process for the people”.

However, the report is an admirable means of charting a way forward, for a nation which has lost its way. The initiative has provided a platform for “whistleblowers” who are privy to the ins and outs of state capture but are too scared to come forward.

The Unburdening Panel has thus become an extremely important body in our collective fight against corruption and state capture.

“Government ministers acting in concert with private interests use regulatory instruments or policy decisions in an arbitrary manner to ‘shake down’ incumbent businesses – including black businesses – and favour particular interests.

“Instead of prioritising job creation and economic growth, decisions are taken for the benefit of a particular company, faction or group,” Malusi Mpumlwana continued (, May 19, “Unburdening, Uncapturing: SACC and SACP take leadership while ANC dithers”).

What Mpumlwana described here is what has become the daily frustration of many South Africans.

It is a frustration which exhausts the soul and sucks the life out of many conscientious citizens. This neglect of leadership, moral and otherwise, by the incumbent government, has produced a traumatised nation, whose historic trauma has been made worse by the ongoing trauma of the present.

I find it tragic and ironic then that in the midst of this massive failure, the ANC is absorbed by a self-concerned orgy of succession battles.

It is as if the organisation still takes it for granted that the people it has so terribly betrayed will vote for it “till Jesus comes”. Surely 2019 will soon come, and we will soon know what the future holds.

In the light of this massive failure to live up to our own expectations, we obviously need to consider a completely different future.

How can we rebuild our nation? How we can find our lost moral compass and rebuild a thriving democracy? How can we avoid a repeat of the Zuma years and the degeneration which has set in? How can we make the lives of each and every South African meaningful, recognised as having real value to the nation?

How can we empower each and every South African to contribute to the economy, the development and wellbeing of our nation?

As much as these questions demand answers, I am convinced that we already have them. I am confident that we are on the verge of outgrowing this sordid period of greed and corruption.

We are on the verge of re-discovery. We are succeeding in pulling back from the brink of being a mafia state and we are rediscovering ourselves as a great nation.

It is my hope that the SACC will not move from the leadership space it has now firmly occupied.

In the new dispensation which we will soon usher in, we will need to remain alert.

We will need to tackle our history by creating a new inclusive future based on the best social philosophies of Africa. At the centre of these philosophies is ubuntu.

In this regard, every single citizen must take interest in the wellbeing of the other and of the nation. Our contribution must deliberately outweigh our benefit.

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