Bishops in South Africa Call on President Zuma to “reconsider his position” as Country’s Leader
CANAA || By Father Don Bosco Onyalla, Nairobi || 06 March 2017
The Catholic Bishops in South African have called on their country’s head of State to “reconsider his position” as President and encouraged members of Parliament and the ruling party to “rise to the occasion and give decisive, fearless and honest leadership.”
The Bishops have made the appeal in a statement dated Tuesday, April 4, in which they note that President Zuma seems not to enjoy the confidence a national leader should have.
“We respectfully remind President Zuma that he has been elected to serve all South Africans,” the Bishops have stated and added, “It appears that he has lost the confidence of many of his colleagues, as well as that of numerous civil society organizations.”
“He should earnestly reconsider his position, and not be afraid to act with courage and humility in the nation’s best interests,” the Bishops say in their collective statement signed by the President of the Southern African Catholic Bishops’ Conference (SACBC), Archbishop Stephen Brislin of Cape Town.
“We have confidence in the leaders of the two noble institutions, Parliament and the ANC, and we trust that they will rise to the occasion and give decisive, fearless and honest leadership,” the Bishops have stated.
The Bishops’ appeal comes at a time when there have been widespread calls for President Zuma’s resignation after he reshuffled his cabinet firing Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan, a move that shook the country’s economy.
“While we note and respect the calls for the resignation of the President, such a step would not in itself be a complete solution, as corruption at every level must to be rooted out,” the Bishops have noted and added, “the leadership of the ANC must make serious and strenuous efforts to end corruption and patronage at all levels of governance”
The Bishops have described their country as being in a “state of anxiety and uncertainty” and called on Parliament to reconvene “urgently” to “debate on the events of the past week and to exercise their duty of holding the Executive arm of government to account.”
“Our concern rises not from the fact that any particular minister has been replaced, but from the allegations as to how the decision was made and the motivation for it,” the Catholic Bishops have clarified.
They have particularly questioned the Executive’s decision-making process and indicated that President Zuma seems to act under external influences.
“Where decisions are being made by others, who have not been elected to public office, is a matter of great concern and is a threat to the democratic process,” the Bishops have stated.
Addressing the call for mass action of Friday, April 7, in which citizens have been advised to stay away from work and children not to attend school, the Bishops have noted, “It is our democratic right to participate in legal, orderly and peaceful marches, and those who wish to express their concern and anger in this way, whether at the march on the 7th April or at subsequent marches, are fully entitled to do so.”
“It is essential for people to make their voices heart,” The Bishops have stated and noted that “it is not entirely clear who has made the call for” the Friday protest march.
The Bishops have cautioned against any form of violence and destruction saying, “The economy and education are both vulnerable at this time and we urge workers and students not to do anything that would further harm the economy or weaken the culture of learning.”