Summary of Pastoral Letter to the Congregations from the Leaders of the SACC Member Churches

Ascension – Eve of Pentecost 2017

Jesus said: “You are the salt of the earth…You are the light of the world!”

  1. Greeting
  2. Signs of the Times

During the first half of every year, the leaders of the member churches of the South African Council of Churches (SACC) meet to review the state of the nation. The leaders are committed to reading the signs of the times to be better focused and deliberate with their prayers for the country, the people and the conditions of their living.

  1. Ambassadors for Christ

The SACC exists to lead common Christian action that works for moral witness in South Africa. In this spirit, the SACC ministers to the nation through the service of watchful presence.

  1. Unburdening Report- That we may “SEE”

The SACC released the Unburdening Panel Report on 18 May 2017 in what they have seen in the goings on of corruption and the capture of State Entities by a power elite that is associated with President Zuma. This is the first and the SEE part of the SEE- ACT-JUDGE approach that the SACC uses in considering matters that need serious attention in society. The SACC National Conference on 6 – 8 June resolutions will be made.

  1. Purpose of Report Release

The SEE report concludes that the government has lost its moral standing, and that it may be bordering on unconstitutional illegitimacy- an area the SACC chooses not to go into at this point.

  1. The South Africa We Pray For

On 16 December 2015 – the Day of Reconciliation, the Churches gathered at Regina Mundi Catholic Church Soweto to pray and work for:

  • Healing and Reconciliation
  • Fabric of family life
  • Poverty and inequality
  • Economic Transformation, and
  • Anchoring Democracy, which includes the concerns of corruption and maladministration and the loss of public trust in public institutions.
  1. The promise of Post -Apartheid RSA

The promise of a just, reconciled, sustainable and equitable society; free of racial, tribal, ethnic, xenophobic and gender prejudices, free of corruption and deprivation, and with enough food and shelter for every citizen, and for every child to grow to its God given potential.

  1. Unburdening Panel Facility

In April 2016, the SACC created the Unburdening Panel as a safe space and “facility”. The Panel is chaired by the SACC President, Bishop Siwa and includes high standing members.

  1. The Jonas-Mentor Revelations

The Unburdening Panel triggered the revelations by Former Deputy Minister Mcebisi Jonas and Ms. Vytjie Mentor in 2016.

The governing party was not able to deal with these revelations with the view that there would be no room for following up on these. The SACC created the listening facility to hear from people who had been pressured to participate in corrupt wrongdoing or who had witnessed it. The Public Protector used some of these individuals’ input and produce the State of Capture Report, which still has to be acted on by government.

  1. What We Now See

Found in this SEE part of the SACC work is that there is a Power Elite that functions in the environment of President Zuma’s circle, which controls things for their own private benefit by:

Securing control of state wealth- by weakening governance and operational structure of state owned companies.

  • Securing control over public service by weeding out skilled professionals
  • Securing access to opportunities for manipulating public policy, regulations or economic conditions to their advantage and disadvantage of ordinary South Africans.
  • Securing control over the country’s fiscal sovereignty.
  • Securing control over strategic procurement opportunities.
  • Securing a loyal intelligence and security apparatus
  • Securing parallel governance and decision making that undermines the executive.

The situation seen leads to endless service delivery protests, public dissatisfaction and loss of trust in government institutions.

The integrity and legitimacy of the government is under scrutiny and it has lost the moral radar that should inform the public service of batho pele, in a “people first” governmental culture.

The continued constitutional legitimacy of government, beyond the moral legitimacy is being questioned.

  1. The Common Body of Christ

The SACC writes to all their churches as a collective body of the Christian Church for a United Christian Witness.

  1. Prayer Network Power


  1. Ascension and Pentecost Focus

All congregations are urged to join in this prayer network with focus on Ascension on May 25 and Pentecost Sunday on June 4.

  1. Further Prayer Periods

Organisers requested to set the next quarterly prayer target from end of June to end of September with the last prayer phase for 2017 into December possibly closing with a major prayer Rally of Healing and Reconciliation on December 16.

  1. The Mystical Body of Christ- A Body of Penitence

We are charged to implore our government and our society on behalf of Christ, to conform to righteousness of God in all matters of governance and life.

  1. Humility and Contrition

The SACC asks that you commit to a humble and contrite mind-set that owns the problem that is needed to be addressed.

  1. Kingdom Values

The church has to extend a helping hand to shepherd society in the direction that make the values for the common good.

  1. Dual Identity of the Church

The church is instructed to humility and contrition and very much owning its part of the sinfulness of society.

  1. Prophetic Responsibility of the Church

The prophetic duty of the church is threefold:

  • To proclaim the truth of God’s values Love, Justice and Truth for society and its rulers.
  • To absorb the sinfulness of society in penitential confession and to intercede for society.
  • To act in ways that engender hope and reflect the conviction of an alternative to the prevailing unacceptable life experience.
  1. We are urging the ANC as the governing party to examine itself in the hope that they can mend the unacceptable ways of government before we reach the point of no return.
  2. We are appealing to the civil servants in government that they are part of the permanent State system of the citizenry and the instrumentation of the public good envisioned in our constitutional dispensation.
  3. Prophet Amos is today addressing our nation (Amos 5 10:13)
  4. Envisage to bring hope to our country through positive building- the National Conference will address these matters.
  5. The SACC Unburdening Panel remains open for business and we urge all to tell about all corruption and the stealing of public resources from the days of the 1994 transition.
  6. The SACC exhorts the faithful people of God to remain steadfast in the values that build and restore our foundations.

Signed by Bishop Ziphozihle (SACC President), Bishop Malusi Mpumlwana (SACC General Secretary) and all Leaders of SACC Member Churches & Organisations

To read the full statement Click Here

Jesuit Institute Spokesperson
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