The SACC is an instrument and servant of its members.

13 January 2021 Statement

From the desk of the General Secretary, Bishop Malusi Mpumlwana


The South African Council of Churches has learned with astonishment and incredulity, of the eNCA reports that on the afternoon of 11 January 2021, Rev Kenneth Meshoe, Pastor of the Hope of Glory Tabernacle, who is also a political leader and Member of Parliament, made the spurious allegation that member churches of the SACC received for their ministers, R3 000.00 apiece from the Government. In the Christian tradition we follow of Matthew 18 (vs15-18), we approached Rev Meshoe to confirm if he had said this and to point out the untruth in his alleged assertion. He confirmed that he had said so based on what he had heard from others and had believed them. He has promised to go back to his informants and will issue a public apology as appropriate. 

These allegations bring the work of the SACC and its role in society into disrepute. SACC is not in the tradition of enriching its ministers or pastors, but of serving and saving lives of the people of God. Such allegations are hurtful to the various member churches of the SACC and the members of block affiliates like The Evangelical Alliance (TEASA), The Council of African Independent Churches (CAIC), and the International Fellowship of Christian Churches (IFCC).

On behalf of the SACC, we wish to leave no doubt that we reject as malicious any insinuation that our engagement with the government of the day is based on some level of monetary gain. Neither the SACC nor the ministers of its member churches have ever received any money from government for anything at all. Our historic engagement with government is based on nothing other than our prophetic tradition and pastoral care for the people of South Africa. This means we cannot afford to ignore people dying daily from a virus whose spread must be prevented by limits to gatherings. 

Right at the beginning in March 2020, the SACC publicly called for a lockdown that limits gatherings. We are firm in our commitment to the Drive to Drive Down the spread of the virus in South African society. Certainly, it is unacceptable to gather large crowds of people, in opposition to sensible life saving regulations. We unashamedly stand to support all measures that will save the lives of people. 

The Bible instructs pastors that our vocation is to care and respect the dignity of each person as created by God (Genesis 1:27, Jeremiah 1:5, 1 Corinthians 3:16-17, Matthew 7:12). As God heals the broken-hearted (Psalm 147:3), we are called to comfort God’s people (Isaiah 40:1) and assure them of God’s vision of life in its fullness (John 10:1-10) especially at a time of distress, uncertainty and fear. In this regard the SACC appeals to churches to engage in programmes that promote hope and the continuous encouragement of the frontline health workers whose daily, deadly sacrifices are God’s precious gift to South Africa at such a time.

There is no question that the churches have a great responsibility to exercise the ministry of prayer in these difficult times, and therefore prayer chains of dedicated groups and individuals are vital. It is often said that the best way to pray to God on a single issue is in a crowd of hundreds, such as praying for the rain in times of drought. But we must also exercise the wisdom we are granted in abundance, and therefore cannot do that at the expense of the lives of people who will be infected in those gatherings. The words of Jesus in Matthew 6:5-6 are worth noting when he says: 

“And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.”

These words of Jesus are supposed to comfort us most in our despair that we can’t meet together under these circumstances. We suggest that to insist on bringing people to churches at this time is to gamble with people’s lives, and is inviting people to their deaths, and the untold grief of their families who will forever curse the church.