SOUTH AFRICA: Bishop Sipuka Urges Church to Address Violent Protests in Country

KWAZULU NATAL, AUGUST 6, 2019 (CISA)-Bishop Sithembile Sipuka, President of Southern African Catholic Bishops’ Conference (SACBC) has called on Catholic Church leaders to have a hands-on pastoral approach to challenges facing South Africans.

Speaking during the official opening of the SACBC plenary assembly at Marian Hill, the bishop told the Church leaders that there is need to journey with the citizens in order to facilitate more constructive engagement with elected leaders and help stop violent protests which is one of the major problems in the country.

“One of the major problems we face in South Africa are violent protests, which often undermine their cause and make the people engaging in them look unreasonable because they destroy the facilities, they have in order to get another facility… Part of this violence is due, I think, to our absence as Church leaders. When people are left alone in desperate situations, they resort to emotionally desperate and destructive measures. If we journey with them, we can facilitate more constructive engagement with elected leaders,” said the Bishop.

He further said that the positive experience of the struggle against apartheid has been largely lost because “we are not with the people in their struggle, we have retreated to the sacristies and occasional pastoral statements”

The SACBC President believes that a healthy debate even over contentious issues such as land ownership must be allowed to prevail and that the Church should not stay detached but must find constructive ways to tackle some of South Africa’s historical inequalities.