Johannesburg (Agenzia Fides) - We must take charge of the "pandemic" of corruption. There is a feeling that South Africa is going towards the direction of being known for corruption as a country", denounces His Exc. Mgr. Sithembele Sipuka, Bishop of Mthatha and President of the Southern African Catholic Bishops Conference (SACBC) in a note on the corruption that is devouring the allocated funds to assist Covid-19 patients and fight the pandemic.
The month of August saw an increase in growing anger on behalf of South African citizens over corruption regarding funds for Covid-19, also thanks to numerous journalistic inquiries and information disseminated on social media", underlines the statement sent to Agenzia Fides. "South Africa is fast becoming known as a country where corruption is a way of life, much similar to what Kenya was once known for. There is a growing worry that corruption is beginning to shape the soul of our nation to the point where corruption is becoming synonymous with South Africa", the statement said. Just recently also in Kenya serious embezzlement of funds to fight the pandemic was reported (see Fides, 28/8/2020), while already on 13 August Mgr. Sipuka himself had intervened with a note in the name of SACBC to ask President Cyril Ramaphos to "put an end to corruption and restore the trust of the population in such a dramatic moment" (see Fides, 18/8/2020).
In his statement of August 28, Mgr. Sipuka invites South Africans to "refuse that South Africa is defined as a country of corruption, as well as of sexual abuse and violence against women".
"We must act against corruption because corruption is contrary to the values we represent as Africans, Christians and as citizens of a democratic country", underlines the President of the SACBC. "As Africans we cherish the value of Ubuntu (which emphasizes loyalty and mutual relationships of people) and care and corruption is an insult to these values, as Christians we believe in serving rather than being served, and corrupt leaders practice the exact opposite of this value and as democrats, we hold the civil servants we elect accountable to us but the corrupt leaders see themselves as accountable to no one".
Mgr. Sipuka then launches an appeal: "Time for complaining about corruption has come to an end; something must be done even during this time of Covid-19, which places limitations of movement and activity. Without propagating for the transgression of Covid-19 safety measures let us begin to think creatively about actions that can be taken for we cannot wait until the Covid-19 pandemic is over to act, time is now", says the Bishop who concludes recalling that "the call against corruption starts with us. Let us pray to be relieved of corruption and this will enable us to speak and act against corruption with integrity". (L.M.) (Agenzia Fides, 31/8/2020)