5 October 2011

Yesterday’s statement by Archbishop-emeritus Tutu is more than a statement of anger and frustration: it is a prophetic statement in the spirit of the Old Testament prophets and of Jesus Christ himself, who expressed woes over those who thought they could flout the will of God. That it was made on the day that we celebrated St Francis of Assisi is also significant – St Francis is one who identified himself completely with those who are most on the margins of society.

Kairos Southern Africa hereby expresses our utmost support for Archbishop-emeritus Tutu and hereby also wish him all God’s blessings and joy on his 80th Birthday. Arch, you are a blessing to South Africa and no-one can take that away from you, and we salute you and stand with you.

Governments across the world, and especially the South African government, must understand that the Holy Spirit moves among the people, and we saw this most vividly in the mass movement of people in Egypt earlier this year. This is an unstoppable movement that no government can stop and must serve as a warning to all governments.

We saw this in the mid 1980s in South Africa when a Kairos was declared against apartheid, and we are slowly beginning to again see such a movement in South Africa today.

This latest action by the South African government – to deliberately drag its feet on communicating its decision on whether or not to grant the Dalai Lama a visa – is more profound than just going against our Constitution. It also calls into question the very act of voting in South Africa: China has never been on our ballot in South Africa and now it seems to be dictating whom we may or may not invite to our country…..we repeat: our country; the one that many of us struggled for, that many of us went to prison for, that many of our people died for.

This action by government also calls into question our vote – the one we struggled for, went to prison for, what many of our people died for. There is already so much cynicism about the idea of voting in our communities and this act will simply increase that cynicism until we have what is effectively a minority elite government, not representing the majority of the people in this country.

This is a serious turning point for us. We see that the worship of Mammon has become more important than sound moral values. We cannot and will not teach this to our children and young people, and therefore those who implement this do not represent us.

It is also a dangerous moment in South Africa, and Kairos Southern Africa will continue to work with all progressive civil society formations to ensure that our country retain the freedoms we have fought for. We view with utter repugnance how our values are being eroded by the present government in South Africa. What happened this time was but one manifestation of this, and we say a loud and clear NO to this.

Besides apologising, the South African government has the duty to uphold our constitution, one of which is freedom of association, especially with those who are fighting for justice in our world, God’s world. In the name of the God who continues to inspire us with hope, especially in the darkest moments, we will continue to work amongst our people to work and hope for the day when sound moral values trumps questionable economic relations. Our country is not for sale to China and we call on leaders in South Africa to hear this message. [ENDS]

For more information, contact

Rev Moss Ntlha   0828098533 or ntlharo@icon.co.za

Rev Edwin Arrison   084 7351835 or earrison78@telkomsa.net

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