The Unburdening Panel CALL OUR TOLL FREE NUMBER: 0800 111 114
On December 16, 2015, the churches of South Africa, launched The South Africa We Pray4 campaign of the SACC, as a program of public ministry though which they committed themselves through a public declaration at Regina Mundi Church in Soweto, to identify, pray and act together on critical socio-economic issues that have a marked difference in the quality of life in South African society. They declared that they would:
- Pray and act for Healing & Reconciliation, healing the past, and engaging the challenge of gender, ethnicity and race.
- Pray and act for the restoration of the Family Fabric, facing up to the tattered family fabric which has been caused by the impact of transition of especially the African family life, in order to nestle a reconciled existence for future generations.
- Pray and act for the destruction of Poverty and Inequality, addressing the need to reverse poverty and inequality in order to reconcile the yearnings of marginalized poor people with the fortunes of the country.
- Pray and act for Economic Transformation, dealing with the long-standing need for economic transformation and identifying the trade-offs necessary to address the fundamentals that result in a reconciled economic dispensation.
- Pray and act toward anchoring Democracy, where corruption, maladministration and the decline of trust in public institutions, is interrogated to promote a transparent and functional democracy.
To the last of the pledges of the churches to “pray and act”on “Anchoring Democracy”, belongs the challenge of the recent cases of people who have revealed how they were made conditional cabinet positions by the Gupta family representatives. These incidents are a climactic symptom of what is believed to be prevalent across the country and at all levels of government and public institutions such as para-statals. This exemplifies what causes the loss of public trust in public institutions, and occasions an unfortunate crisis of public confidence.
In response to this crisis of public trust the South African Council of Churches has created a special panel of eminent persons led by the President of the SACC, Bishop Zipho Siwa, the Presiding Bishop of the Methodist Church of Southern Africa. Other members of the panel are Madam Justice Yvonne Mokgoro, retired Justice of the Constitutional Court; Dr Brigalia Bam, a previous General Secretary of the South African Council of Churches and former Chair of the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC); and Bishop Mosa Sono, Presiding Bishop of Grace Bible Church in the Evangelical Alliance of South Africa. The panel is called the “Unburdening Panel”, based on the bible text that says: “Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.” (Gal. 6:2). The General Secretary of the SACC, Bishop Malusi Mpumlwana will coordinate the Secretariat of the Panel. The Secretariat will include a team of experienced attorneys and advocates, serving for the public good.
What is the purpose of the Unburdening Panel?
The Unburdening Panel is a “facility” offered by the churches to any person in the Republic of South Africa who may wish to relieve herself or himself of the burden caused by an experience of someone – an individual, a representative of a business interest, of a political party or of a person of influence – your superior or someone you couldn’t say “No” to, suggesting that you do something inappropriate in return for a promotion, an attractive position or money or shares in a company, or any other favour or incentive whatsoever. The idea is to provide a safe space for people to unburden themselves and tell what they wish to tell. The individuals will be professionally interviewed and their reports recorded in a legal format. This is not an investigation, and therefore with no capacity to verify statements expect to receive them under oath from the people concerned.
How information will be used
The person concerned will be consulted and the information so given will, with their consent:
- Be utilized by the churches for advocacy in the Anchoring Democracy pillar of The South Africa We Pray4 campaign.
- Be made public, for South Africans to know what is going on.
- As is appropriate, be given to a constitutional body like the Human Rights Commission or the Public Protector, and any organization identified by the person concerned.
How far back are reports invited?
The Unburdening Panel will receive information of any corruption experiences that only cover the period of South Africa’s democratic era. It is also understood that there are many cases of corrupt practices that impact on people, that are a roll-over from improper opportunities of apartheid days. As these impact in the democratic period, they will be entertained.
How the Unburdening Panel works
The Unburdening Panel will have a legal secretariat to receive indications by people who wish to take advantage of this SACC facility to tell their stories. The stories will be recorded in a professional manner so that these reports can be usable in any legal proceeding that may ever arise.
While it is not possible for resource and time constraints, for the panel to hold hearings in every part of the country, every effort will be made to afford opportunity for the stories of people in various provinces to be heard, on demand.
Between Wednesday April 13 and May 31, the Secretariat will be gathering primary information from people, and hearings are expected to run between June and the end of July. The Unburdening Panel should hopefully be ready to conclude its business between the end of August and early September 2016.
The Unburdening Panel is primarily designed for individuals who are ready to make their experiences public. However, in the case where people wanted to unburden themselves without the wish to be publicly known, the Anonymity Option will take effect to protect the identity of the people.
Apply here to make use of the Unburdening Panel
If you wish to come forward and submit details of alleged corruption through the process of the Unburdening Panel please submit your details below.
How you can assist
If you wish to donate funds towards this initiative our banking details are as follows:
|Account name||SACC Anchoring Democracy Fund|
|Account type||Current Account|
|Account number||112 885 2004|
|Branch code||19 080 500|