South Africa’s Thabo Makgoba: ‘The Price of Corruption is the Inequality of Equality’

706x410q70Poplak-on-Corruption-SUBBEDThousands of South Africans have taken to the streets in the last week to reclaim the dream of a free South Africa from the clutches of corruption. In the United States we don’t call it corruption, we call it “money in politics” or the influence of “Citizens United.” But the gangrenous effect on the body politic is the same.

South African churches are once again rising to meet this injustice and providing the organizing and leadership underneath this movement.

A shout out to Siki Dlanga for her work on this effort. Below is an excerpt from the whole statement given by Cape Town’s Anglican Archbishop Thabo Makgoba:

…Today we shouldn’t be here rallying against corruption. Today we should be asking… Aren’t we ready to fulfill our country’s destiny, by showing the same level of courage that won our liberation from apartheid? Nothing less will work. Are we really so afraid of what our morally corrupt political and business leaders will do to us that we will be intimidated into silence? How many times have you read Madiba’s words, words that defined the Old Struggle, and felt your heart soar when he said: “I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.”

My friends, we need to face up to the reality of what corruption does to our society. We need what I call a cold shower of reality to shock our leaders to their senses. It is this: The price of corruption is the inequality of equality. Let me repeat these words, for they need to frame our new struggle: the price of corruption is the inequality of equality.

What do I mean by that? It is simple: while we and our leaders live under the delusion that we are promoting equality in our society, the corruption that is spreading its tentacles across our society actually entrenches inequality, step up step.

A little over a year ago, almost in this same location, I asked South Africans to turn themselves inside out and expose their sense of moral consciousness to the sun. Why? Because, the sun is God’s disinfectant. Our country, because of the ethical state of the nation, needs to be morally disinfected…Morally disinfected so that we can recapture THE dream of the South Africa we want.

What’s missing? It’s not the ideas. It’s not the realization that enough is enough. It’s the determination that we need to begin a new era of courageous action. We will clean up and disinfect South Africa only when the courage and the will of all our people puts local action behind our words. Over the last six months you have no idea how many South Africans have said to me, “Archbishop, I’m so tired of seeing the moral pollution. “I am so tired of seeing the pervasive unethical contamination.”

As painful as it is to see the corruption, it’s 100 times more painful to see the price of corruption… the inequality that is becoming embedded into the structures of our society. I want to address President Zuma and our national leaders, our provincial leaders, our local leaders and the business people who corrupt them… You are responsible for creating an historic era of sadness in South Africa … Worse, we have allowed you to do it. … —Thabo Makgoba, Anglican Archbishop of Cape Town‚ South Africa

Read Archbishop Makgoba’s whole statement.

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