From the desk of the General Secretary, Bishop Malusi Mpumlwana
15 October 2021
South Africans were shocked by the holding hostage of Defence Minister, Thandi Modise, her deputy Thabang Makwetla and Minister in the Presidency, Mondli Gungubele at a hotel in Gauteng on 14 October 2021.
The act of holding any person hostage is a serious offence, however, holding
government ministers against their will, starts to tip the scales beyond the abuse of human rights into a potential act against the State. To see individuals with military training acting in such an unlawful and undisciplined way, begs the question ‘What has caused this to happen?’
“While we cannot condone the actions of the military veterans as they are unlawful, we believe that something has gone horribly wrong in the way we relate with each other, that such extreme measures would be chosen as a means of communication,” said Bishop Malusi Mpumlwana, General Secretary of the SACC. Mpumlwana believes that there must be some deep-seated reason that would cause a group of military veterans to collectively act in this way, and this warrants deeper investigation.
“We need to open the lid on how our military veterans are treated, in order to get to a place of understanding the sequence of events that has lead to this situation,” said Bishop Mpumlwana. Bishop Malusi said it would appear that South Africans have abandoned the preamble of the Constitution which in part, reads:
We, the people of South Africa, Recognise the injustices of our past;
Honour those who suffered for justice and freedom in our land;
Respect those who have worked to build and develop our country; and
Believe that South Africa belongs to all who live in it, united in our diversity….
“As a nation, we owe a huge debt to our military veterans. We believe that beyond the legal implications of this situation, there is work to be done to dig deeper and address this matter in such a way as would bring both parties to a common place of understanding, satisfaction and peace,” said Mpumlwana.
The SACC is prepared to work with the military veterans and the Ministry of Defence to offer support in finding solutions for a peaceful resolution to any challenges being experienced in the day-to-day honouring of those who suffered for justice and freedom in our land. The SACC recognises that there is deep and widespread woundedness in South Africa, with every sector of society in a state of tension and grievance. As part of our ministry of national healing and reconciliation, we believe there is an urgent need for a nation building initiative that must address all outstanding issues.
The SACC triennial conference meeting next week will deliberate on the proposal for such a healing initiative.
SACC Communications Consultant
South African Council of Churches
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