Johannesburg (Agenzia Fides) - "The coronavirus seems to have reinforced the greed that has conquered our Country in the last ten years", says His Exc. Mgr. Victor Hlolo Phalana, Bishop of Klerksdorp, and President of the Justice and Peace Commission of the Southern African Catholic Bishops' Conference (SACBC), in a statement for Heritage Day, which is celebrated in South Africa on September 24 each year, to celebrate the culture and diversity of national beliefs and traditions.
And it is precisely "corruption - says Mgr. Phalana – that represents the main threat to our national heritage".
"Corruption was a constant feature of the apartheid period. Blacks were its main victims, since they had no rights and therefore had no way to protect themselves from abuse as politicians and officials used the power of the government for personal gain", recalls the Bishop, according to whom "The most corrupt period in the history of the Country were the last years of apartheid, when the attempt to fight the successful campaign of international sanctions made corruption, protected by government secrecy, its central strategy".
The end of apartheid did not end corruption, just remember what happened during the time of President Jacob Zuma. His resignation in 2018 raised hopes that were not fullfilled, Mgr. Phalana recalls. "It was a blow to see the ruling party redeploy corrupt officials to various strategic positions, including Parliament".
The Bishop stigmatizes the recent scandals of embezzlement of funds allocated to fight Covid-19: "While millions of people were locked up in their homes, knowing that they could lose their jobs and income, corrupt politicians, like the hyenas surrounding an immobilized prey, rushed on the 500 billion rand subsidy package to help companies cope with the economic implications of Covid -19 "with the result that the workers on layoffs" did not see a cent of the funds allocated to them".
Private companies have illegally enriched themselves with the supply of cheap protective materials sold at inflated prices, "putting the lives of patients, front-line workers and the entire population at risk", denounces Mgr. Phalana.
"Corruption equals treason and socio-economic terrorism and should be treated as such. I am ashamed to acknowledge that corruption is our heritage", concludes the Bishop of Klerksdorp. (L.M.) (Agenzia Fides, 25/9/2020)