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Archbishop Makgoba's Searing Sermon Sheds Light on South Africa's Political Trust Crisis

Published December 27, 2023
7 months ago

In an impassioned sermon that did not mince words, Archbishop Thabo Makgoba of the Anglican Church of Southern Africa delivered a stinging rebuke of South Africa's political landscape during the Midnight Mass at St George's Cathedral in Cape Town. Calling out the deep-seated issues of lies, scams, and unchecked fraud, Archbishop Makgoba's message came through loud and clear: the nation is at a crossroads, plagued by a trust deficit that threatens the very fabric of its democracy.

Although his sermon touched on global concerns – specifically the ongoing conflict in Gaza – it was his comments on South Africa's internal strife that resonated most strongly with his congregants and the public. He implored international leaders to seek peace and put an end to the cycle of violence, urging the cessation of weapon supplies to conflict zones and emphasizing that true peace is never achieved through arms.

Transitioning his focus to South African soil, Archbishop Makgoba lamented the crumbling trust between the people and their political leaders. He referenced the 2023 South African Reconciliation Barometer (SARB) survey, which highlighted a stark decline in confidence in the national government – from 63% in 2007 to a dire 32% in 2023. The survey also painted a worrying picture of political party support, with the ANC, DA, and EFF all seeing varied levels of confidence from the populace.

The Archbishop's sermon dove into the socio-economic challenges facing South Africans. He pointed out the frightening disparity between the salaries of public servants and the poverty experienced by much of the population. With 55,000 public officials earning over a million rand per year, in contrast to the millions struggling on social grants, he called into question the priorities of those in power.

Makgoba did not spare his own views on the upcoming 2024 elections, painting a picture of a society disillusioned by politicians who he claims are more focused on clinging to power and filling their pockets than on serving the people. The approach of the elections seems to only exacerbate the deception and greed, according to Makgoba.

The economic woes of the country, already battered by a weak economy and high-interest rates, compound the problem. The Archbishop argued that the working class is bearing the brunt of this turbulent period, suffering from low wages, high inflation, and fewer job opportunities, while politicians allegedly exploit economic resources for personal gain.

Daniel Silke, a political economy analyst, echoed the Archbishop's sentiments, indicating that there is a growing consciousness and dissatisfaction within civil society towards the government. According to Silke, the decline in ethical governance and the subsequent erosion of service delivery has prompted a reawakening among various civic groups, including the church, who are now more openly critical of the ruling party.

As these criticisms emerge, it is evident that South Africans are yearning for transparent, accountable governance that prioritizes the needs of its citizens. With the general elections on the horizon, the political discourse within the country will certainly gain momentum, as civil society looks to recalibrate the scales of justice and trust.

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