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SA: Steve Moreo: Address by Anglican Bishop of Johannesburg, at the Pretoria march, Pretoria (07/04/2017)

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SA: Steve Moreo: Address by Anglican Bishop of Johannesburg, at the Pretoria march, Pretoria (07/04/2017)

7th April 2017

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Members of the ANC top executive who initially repudiated President Zuma’s Cabinet reshuffle were blind to the truth which South Africans can see of the need for a corrupt-free and stable society with a secure future.

This was the gist of a strong address given by the Anglican Bishop of Johannesburg, the Right Revd Dr Steve Moreo, as part of the march to the Union Buildings in Pretoria today.

Bishop Steve said that the country’s leadership had descended into a state of ghastly immorality and unethical behaviour.

He added that when some of the acolytes of the President had had the courage to repudiate him, South Africans had seen some hope for a stable future.

“But just a few days later, those same acolytes emerged from behind closed doors, where they had debated in secrecy, with no transparency. They emerged to proclaim again that the President is clothed even when they had revealed him for all his duplicity and nakedness just a few days before. Then we knew that the moral compass that was our legacy in 1994 had been destroyed.

“Those lieutenants, the acolytes, surrendered at that moment the high moral ground they had so briefly occupied at the beginning of the week. They shamed us and themselves by their actions.

“Those who hold the power of government in this country are now living a lie. Our call to any men and women with a sharp and honest conscience in the caucus of the African National Congress and its governing structures, is to stop living the lie. Now.

“The people of South Africa are watching you and they will not lie down. It may go quiet for a while, but they will not lie down. The people of South Africa are not fools. They are good, honest, moral and truthful people.

“The answer to the question, ‘What is truth?’ will always overcome the lies of those who wish to double cross, to hurt the poor and marginalised by their actions, and to conduct their government business in the deep shade of duplicity,” Bishop Moreo said.

The full text of his address during the march is:


When the Mandela government swept to power in 1994, it took South Africa and the world by storm with its high moral compass. This was a government composed of diverse people, all of whom had come to their new positions of power in this beacon of democracy with moral backbone of long-standing or recently acquired. They did so as people with high ethical values and sound political morals for that age – no matter what anyone said about their past. These were the people who led the nation on that colourful day in April, up the road here at the Union Buildings, with the rainbow colours of the national flag flying. We and they became what Archbishop Desmond Tutu called the rainbow nation.

None of us here today, in our heart of hearts, can see those bright colours in the rainbow anymore. The flag still flies and we are proud of it. Our beloved country still exists, and we love it. That is why we are here. But the colours of the rainbow have faded.

We are here today because, like our forebears in that bright April sunlight of 1994, we value moral and ethical norms and practices. We see ourselves as a people of the 21st century, not of old divisiveness or the graft, corruption and deceit of cynical politicians. By and large, we see ourselves as people who hold the truth dear.

I am a Christian priest.  In a week from today, I will be commemorating the words in the Jerusalem court of Pontius Pilate when he said to Jesus Christ: “What is truth?”

Christ remained silent. And Pontius Pilate, was too blind to see that “truth” stood before him and had him killed. In this way, Pilate was like governors of states before and after him. He was blind to the needs and will of the people.

Like Pontius Pilate, our present government in South Africa, from the President down, is too blind to see the truth. Since 2009, with few exceptions, government has failed South Africa. They treat us, their people, as if we have no rights and no intelligence. They treated us as if we have no interest in a secure future for our country.

We have all of those.

That it is why it is important to state clearly that this past week has seen our leadership descend into a state of ghastly immorality and unethical behaviour. It is the behaviour that leads to much of the confusion among many of our people. It is the behaviour that has caused us to gather here in Pretoria and in cities, towns and villages throughout our country today to say, Enough! It is an immoral behaviour.

When some of the acolytes of the President had the courage to repudiate his Cabinet reshuffle, people saw some hope for a stable future.

But just a few days later, those same acolytes emerged from behind closed doors, where they had debated in secrecy, with no transparency. They emerged to proclaim again that the President is clothed even when they had revealed him for all his duplicity and nakedness just a few days before. Then we knew that the moral compass that was our legacy in 1994 had been destroyed. Those lieutenants, the acolytes, surrendered at that moment the high moral ground they had so briefly occupied at the beginning of the week. They shamed us and themselves by their actions.

Those who hold the power of government in this country are now living a lie. Pontius Pilate could not live that lie. Old South African governments could not either. Neither will this government be able to continue to do so.

Our call to any men and women with a sharp and honest conscience in the caucus of the African National Congress and its governing structures, is to stop living the lie. Now. The people of South Africa are watching you and they will not lie down. It may go quiet for a while, but they will not lie down. The people of South Africa are not fools. They are good, honest, moral and truthful people.

The answer to the question, “What is truth?” will always overcome the lies of those who wish to double cross, to hurt the poor and marginalised by their actions, and to conduct their government business in the deep shade of duplicity.

It is time for the truth. And that is why it is time for a movement such as this.”

 

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