The State of the nation. The ongoing Zondo Commission of Enquiry into State Capture gives a grim picture of the state of our Democracy 24 years since 1994. The poor suffered greatly through job losses and lack of service delivery as the economy stagnated. Our public institutions where captured and hollowed out to enable graft with impunity. From the very top – the former president Mr Jacob Zuma – to the local government level, evidenced by the VBS scandals, corruption became the way our public institutions do business.
The Evangelical Alliance of South Africa, through the South African Christian Leadership Initiative ( SACLI) and other Civil society actors, were instrumental in creating an environment in which the JZ presidency became untenable. Now the battle shifts to the local government. The calling of the Church to be salt and light at the local community level, where it matters most, has begun. Pray that churches and ministers fraternals will embrace the challenge of demanding good governance from local municipalities.
Religious freedom in South Africa. As the year ends, the fear that in the new year, the Commission for the Promotion of Cultural, Religious and Linguistic (CRL) communities will achieve its goal to regulate Churches is real. Commission chair Mrs Thoko Mkhwanazi – Xaluva is convinced that such a measure is for the common good in the light of rogue elements in the church who have abused the institution of the church. Churches are divided on the issue. Some agree with her while others believe that the rogue elements notwithstanding, regulation is an unwelcome judicial overreach into territory that belongs to the faith communities. It is likely to cause more harm than good. The next step on this journey is a National Consultative Conference scheduled for February 2019. Pray for wisdom in finding solutions to the challenges.
A related case is that in which Freedom of Religion South Africa appeared before the Constitutional court to defend the right of parents to spank their children in loving discipline, as directed by the scriptures. At stake is the intention of child rights lobby groups to press government to legislate against any form of spanking, no matter how gentle and moderate, and the religious right of Christians to practice what the Scriptures demand. Judgement on the matter will be delivered in due course. Pray for the judges to come to a God honouring decision.