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Johannesburg – “What I wish to propose is that we should add our voice on the call for accountability
for the violence and looting that has been allowed to happen in the country. Those who by commission or omission of their duties have facilitated this must account”, said His Exc. Mgr. Sithembele Sipuka Bishop of Mthatha in his opening address to the Plenary Assembly of the Southern African Catholic Bishops’ Conference which he chairs.
Bishop Sipuka referred to the violence that broke out after the arrest of former President Jacob Zuma, with the death of several people and the looting and destruction of several public and private buildings .
Mgr. Sipuka then commented on the government’s reaction to the tragedy: “the government committed to give a grant to those affected because “it is a caring government”. But if it was a caring government, it would have done more to develop the poor people who have been neglected and whose deep-seated anger was unleashed into violence by the opportunity of the arrest of the former president”.
Bishop Sipuka then focused on the situation of young South Africans, many of whom are “stuck to the mentality of being employed and provided for” and urged them to put their talents into practice to improve their situation. “While the government must be challenged to play its role in improving the lives of the citizens, let also use the little that is around us”.
The President of the SACBC, which includes the Bishops of South Africa, eSwatini and Botswana, underlined how their assembly took place among Covid-19, social destabilization in South Africa and political revolution in the Kingdom of eSwatini Fortunately, there does not seem to be a serious crisis in Botswana yet. On the part of the Church, her life and work continues but is hampered by the situation due to Covid-19.
The Bishop thanked all Southern African Catholics for keeping the faith in these difficult times, using all possible means to keep alive their personal relationship with God and the mission of the Church. But Sipuka has stigmatized worshipers who do not go to mass under the pretext of the fear of catching COVID-19 but go to shopping malls and other gatherings.