A Media Committee initiative
Edited by the Revd Loraine Tulleken

Welcome to our exciting news service.
We anticipate emailing a selection of stories about three times a month.

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SA Anglican bishops slam VAT increase

The Reverend Kay Goldsworthy becomes world’s first female Anglican Archbishop

Welby: Anglican Communion is in a better place than five years ago

Australian Churches seek compensation for sex-abused criminals

Living Water For a Thirsty World – Pastoral Letter from the Synod of Bishops


New Anglican Inter Faith Commission begins work in Cairo

Bishop Curry on The Episcopal Church’s need for world Anglicanism: “We need each other”


Stellenbosch University to honour Thabo Makgoba, Patrice Motsepe and Max du Preez

Archbishop Thabo responds to President Zuma’s resignation

UK parish helps Joburg Diocese buy Dutch Reformed Church for Matllosane centre

New bishop pays respects to king

Global response to Pope’s call to pray for South Sudan and the Democratic Republic of Congo


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Living Water For a Thirsty World – Pastoral Letter from the Synod of Bishops

Living Water For a Thirsty World

Pastoral Letter from the Synod of Bishops

Anglican Church of Southern Africa (ACSA)

23rd February 2018

Dear People of God,

We greet you in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.

As Bishops of the Anglican Church of Southern Africa (ACSA), we met in Synod in Benoni from Monday 19th until Friday 23rd February 2018. The full bench of Bishops was present, as well as the Vicar General of the Diocese of Umzimvubu. We represent Anglicans from Mozambique, Angola, Namibia, St Helena, Swaziland, Lesotho and South Africa.

Our meeting started with an “Eco-Retreat”, and took place within a rhythm of prayer, worship and fellowship. During our time together we shared at a personal level and debated issues facing the church, local communities and our various countries. In the interests of the environment, we had our first “paperless” Synod of Bishops, in which documents were distributed electronically.

Our “Eco-Retreat” was on the theme of water – bearing in mind the water crisis facing the Western Cape and some other parts of Southern Africa. Water is life, and we need to respect and use it as a gift from God for all. It is also a powerful symbol of God’s gift of the Holy Spirit. Jesus said, “Those who drink of the water that I will give them will never be thirsty. The water that I will give will become in them a spring of water gushing up to eternal life” (John 4:14).

The Synod of Bishops welcomed the resignation of Jacob Zuma and the election of Cyril Ramaphosa as President of South Africa. What happens in South Africa affects all the countries of ACSA. We are aware of a fresh spirit of freedom and hope in South Africa. We also welcome reports of progress and reconciliation in many of our countries.

We pledge our prayers, and those of our people, for all who are in positions of power and authority in our countries. In the name of God we urge them to lead with an attitude of humble service, remembering especially those who are weak, vulnerable and in need. We urge our governments to prepare national budgets that are pro-poor. We call for corruption to be exposed and justice to be done wherever there has been abuse of power or privilege.

We gave attention to a number of areas of mission and ministry.

  1. We discussed the process of preparing for Bishops to retire and how to plan smooth transitions to new Bishops. We believe that it is important to do this is a way that is orderly and best serves the life, ministry and mission of ACSA. We said farewell to Bishop Richard Fenwick of St Helena and Bishop Bethlehem Nopece of Port Elizabeth, who will retire before and next Synod of Bishops meeting.
  2. We rejoiced in the planned consecration and enthronement of Moses Thozamile Madywabe as Bishop of Khahlamba in the Eastern Cape on Saturday 24th February. Our love and prayers are with him, his family and the Diocese as this new ministry begins.
  3. We commended the Liturgical Committee for its work, especially in these areas:
  • The Anglican Prayer Book Revision Process – “Under African Skies”. We recognised that there is a great deal of work still to be done here, and commit ourselves to an ongoing process of liturgical revision for worship that is Anglican, contextual and open to the leading of the Holy Spirit. A Provincial Liturgical consultation is being planned, in which feedback will be received from Dioceses and new work will be identified.
  • Revised Collects for the three year cycle of Sunday readings have been completed, and are receiving positive responses.
  • We welcomed progress on a number of projects, including the de-consecration of a church; a Zulu hymnbook with music; and the blessing and use of holy oils.
  1. After receiving advice from our Canon lawyers, we agreed on the process required to transform Angola from a Missionary Diocese to a fully fledged Diocese of ACSA. We also considered the best way forward for establishing a Missionary Diocese in Niassa. In addition we began to consider an application for a Suffragan Bishop from the Diocese of Namibia.
  2. We were introduced to the work of the Anglican Communion Safe Church Commission, which gives “guidelines to enhance the safety of all persons especially children, young people and vulnerable adults, within the provinces of the Anglican Communion”. It includes a Charter for the safety of people within the churches of the Anglican Communion. We agreed that this will be a standing agenda item for Synod of Bishops. We are deeply concerned for those who have experienced abuse in the church and want to set things right.
  3. HOPE Africa led us in a Gender Sensitisation Workshop, where we heard the deeply disturbing story of a young woman who was a victim of abuse and human trafficking. We were challenged to think critically about our attitudes towards relationships between men and women, and patriarchy within the church and society. We acknowledge that the church has sometimes been complicit in failing to deal with abuse, and commit ourselves anew to intentional and scriptural prophetic, teaching and caring ministries in this regard.
  4. Rev Jeremy Jobling and Rev Dorcas Mabitsela presented the Alpha course to us – showing how it can be used to introduce people to God through food, talks about out faith and discussion groups. We were given a full set of resources for training and running Alpha courses. We did an experiential session on Prayer from Youth Alpha – and found that it was not that difficult to put ourselves into the shoes of teenagers! We look forward to encouraging the use of Alpha in our Dioceses.
  5. We were encouraged to hear of developments in ACSA’s response to the Anglican Communion’s International Season of Intentional Discipleship and Disciple-Making. Through Growing the Church (GtC) discipleship training teams are being equipped around the Province using the LEAD Programme – Leadership for Evangelism and Disciple-Making. These teams are starting to train disciple-makers in their Dioceses. We welcomed the work of the Anglican Communion’s Discipleship Group, under the banner of “Living and Sharing Jesus-Shaped Life”.
  6. We welcomed a progress report on planning and preparations for the next Anglicans Ablaze Conference: 3rd to 6th October 2018 at the City Hill Auditorium, Hillcrest, in the Diocese of Natal. The theme is “Living a Jesus-Shaped Life”. Registrations are open and all the information is available at . We noted that there is enormous excitement building up in many parts of the Province. This year we are hoping to have 3,000 people attending.
  7. We received an update on MyAnglican, the Church Management System which has been adopted by Provincial Synod. As all our Dioceses and churches register with MyAnglican and start to use it, we will find ourselves being able to keep records, communicate and plan more effectively. Archbishop Thabo encouraged us all to appoint “champions” who have IT skills, to take this work forward in our Dioceses.
  8. Dr Sandile Buthelezi of the South African National Aids Council (SANAC) addressed us on their response to the HIV/AIDS pandemic, Tuberculosis and Sexually Transmitted Infections. We were encouraged to hear that they plan to work closely with churches once again. It is clear to us that a lot of work still needs to be done in order to address these issues effectively in Southern Africa.
  9. We participated in a workshop on Sustainable Development led by a team of Anglican leaders from various parts of Africa. We were reminded of important financial, property, resource and personnel management systems that need to be in place to support the mission and ministry of the church. We heard about income generating projects in some Dioceses, and reflected on how we can be more effective in this area. We also learnt more about the Peer Mentoring Programme.
  10. We discussed the challenges that face us at the College of the Transfiguration (COTT), and need it to survive and thrive as a centre of training for future clergy. Each Diocese has been asked to give a regular monthly donation to COTT this year, over and above paying for any students they may have there. Looking to the future, we received the preliminary report of the Commission that has been established under the chairmanship of Prof Barney Pityana. It is clear that we will need to engage in innovative thinking and deep soul-searching about the future of theological education and ministerial formation in ACSA. We agreed to set aside significant time to do this next time we meet, with the help of a variety of experts in the field.
  11. The members of the Archbishop’s Commission on Human Sexuality introduced their work to us. We were assured of the commission’s commitment to engage with the whole church in a spirit of openness, without preconceived outcomes. We workshopped some of the issues together – following the commitment of Lambeth Conference Resolution 1.10 of 1998, to consult and listen to one another. The commission explained to us the process of consultation with Dioceses that they envisage.

During Lent we enter into a time of “self-emptying” following the example of Jesus – through a commitment to prayer, fasting and works of charity. As we die to self in this way we are enabled to share the suffering of others as well as the promise of new life in the resurrection of Jesus. Jesus said, “Let anyone who is thirsty come to me, and let the one who believes in me drink. As the scripture has said: Out of the believer’s heart shall flow rivers of living water.” (John 7:37-38)

We wish you, individually and in your communities, a blessed Lent, Passiontide and Easter in fellowship with the God of life and love.


Bishops’ statement on the South African Budget

Statement on South African Budget

Synod of Bishops: 22nd February 2018

The Bishops of the Anglican Church of Southern Africa express their deep concern at the increase in Value-Added Tax in the South African government’s budget.

It is distressing to us that the ordinary citizens of South Africa are being called upon through increased VAT to fill the gaps in government finances which are partly a result of massive maladministration and corruption, especially in state-owned enterprises.

We urge the South African government, as we have urged all governments in our region, to develop budgets which help the poor, to expose corruption and ensure that those who perpetrate it, whether in the private or public sector, are brought to justice.


Synod says farewell to Bishops of Port Elizabeth and St Helena

The Bishop of Port Elizabeth, the Right Revd Bethlehem Nopece, sitting left, and the Bishop of St Helena, the Right Revd Richard Fenwick, attended their last meeting of the Synod of Bishops at its February session.

Archbishop Thabo Makgoba and the Dean of the Province, the Right Revd Stephen Diseko led the Synod in a farewell liturgy.


Five ACSA bishops join training course in Canterbury

Five recently-consecrated bishops of the Province joined nearly 30 other bishops from around the Communion for training at Canterbury Cathedral earlier in February.

During the training they also visited the Archbishop of Canterbury at Lambeth Palace, London, and the Anglican Communion Office in London.

See photographs of their visit and read their full report below.

(Click on the dots at the bottom of the photos to see other photos. Move your cursor below the dots to read the captions.)


Provincial Notices

New Bishop of Khahlamba Elected

From the Provincial Executive Officer:

The names of three candidates namely, the Revd S. Bam, the Ven Moses Madywabe and Bishop S Seleoane, were considered for the election of a Bishop for the vacant See of the Diocese of Khahlamba today.

After the first ballot, the Ven Moses Madywabe was elected as the second Bishop of Khahlamba.

Please keep the Bishop Elect, Moses, his wife Thembisa and children in your prayers.

The Ven Horace Arenz


Thy Kingdom Come – An invitation to prayer

Anglicans in Southern Africa have been invited to join Thy Kingdom Come, a global prayer movement which invites Christians around the world to pray between Ascension and Pentecost (from May 10 to 20, 2018) for the empowerment of the Holy Spirit, so that we may become effective witnesses and that many more people will come to know Jesus Christ.

The movement began in the Church of England, when the Archbishops of Canterbury and York invited Anglicans in England to join in prayer.

Endorsing the spread of the initiative further, Archbishop Thabo Makgoba has urged the church in this Province to use the resources provided by the movement “so that we can soak the Province and the Anglican Communion in prayer.”

Resources for My Kingdom Come
Click for further resources

The Archbishop’s video appeal appears below but can also be found directly on YouTube


Bishop Nopece announces retirement

Bishop Bethlehem Nopece.

From the Synod edition of iindaba, journal of the Diocese of Port Elizabeth:

At the opening of his Charge to Synod last night, Bishop Bethlehem announced that the Synod of Bishops have released him to retire on 31 July 2018.

He thanked God for the privilege of having been given the ministry of a Bishop but cautioned, “For those who may be filled with ambition for the office of the Bishop let me caution you: Study I Timothy 3:1-7, you will do well.

“It is a call for a responsibility – not an achievement. The privilege of this leadership comes from God. Take care lest you should get hurt. God is not mocked, whatever you sow, that you will surely reap. The best is to wait upon him!”

The remainder of the report can be found on the Diocese’s Facebook page.


Human Development and an Ethical Life – Lecture by N Barney Pityana

The text of a lecture by Professor Pityana at the University of Mpumalanga, Mbombela, on October 17:

HUMAN DEVELOPMENT and AN ETHICAL LIFE: The Challenge of the Modern University

Archbishop Thabo Makgoba and family, through the Archbishop Thabo Makgoba Development Trust, are to be commended for establishing this endowment fund for the purpose of a series of lectures on the subject of moral leadership. It is even more so that in doing so the Makgobas have dedicated this lecture to a partnership with universities across the country. Among the beneficiaries to this largess is the University of Mpumalanga, one of the newest of our national institutions of higher learning. As such this university has the luxury of innovation and creativity, blazing a trail in higher education never before traversed. It is nonetheless a daunting challenge, and it brings with it raised expectations.

The challenge of higher education has never been faced quite like it is happening in our day. Since the Commission on Higher Education was established in 1995, and whose report findings and recommendations informed the then new Higher Education Act 1997, and gave form and shape to the system of higher education in South Africa. Of necessity, the new Act as well as the higher education system which it founded, were crafted with a backward glance, but with clarity about the way ahead. It was informed by the experiences under apartheid so as to create an education system compatible with international practice. The Separation of Universities Act 1959, tribalised or ethnicised South African universities. The white universirties were not left untouched. They too were separated into English and Afrikaans universities. Language was meant to create barriers to access except for those prepared to abide by the cultureal determinants associated with the language. Thus the political stranglehold of apartheid affected the entirety of the university system.

Unashamedly, this transgression was not merely about language, religion or culture, it was ideological. It sought to entrench a system of ideas and knowledge, that essentialised whire, European, Reformed thinking into the fabric of the South African politics, and to ensure the domination of and hegemony of the politics of the country for the foresseable future. Over the years, this put South Africa on a path, then considered irreversible, but that parted ways not just with the norms of higher education and scholarship the world over, but also with Africa, with Africa’s rich and exciting history of knowledge and scientific advancement. For all intents and purposes Africa was wiped out of the slate of the knowledge endeavour.

Universities then like the new University of Mpumalanga, have the exciting prospect of charting new ground, walking the paths of scholarship as they are being made, and redefining what the nature and character of a university could be in the South Africa as we envisage its future. Thus, inasmuch as 1995 was ineluctably about undoing the damage visited upon this nation by apartheid, in 2015/16 it was now time to face a bright and bold new future. It is a future of re-thinking the idea of the university, laying the foundations afresh on an idea of our own making. It was, I believe, about re-building a new future. It may be easy to assume that this task was easy, but it was not to be. It was not easy in part because it carried with it the burden of experimenting, devoid of certainties and smart solutions that one has come to expect. It requires the courage to make mistakes and to learn from them. It also means that we shall have to operate with a mood of suspicion, taking some entrenched ideas with a pinch of salt, and by trusting our instincts as we forge towards the future. In other words, the very idea of the university itself must be the subject of fresh thought, its purpose must be investigated afresh, and its ideal has salience not so much because of the ideology it carves that causes it to be binding on others, but exactly because it is an idea whose time has come. The psychology of oppression is such that it is capable of causing the victim to truly believe that one cannot survive without it, or if one does, one can only use the oppressive system as a reference point for ideas. We become dependent on the oppressive system itself to free ourselves from it, so the wisdom goes. That cannot be.

Such a University must be founded on the principles of truth, justice, innovation, creativity, and to set out on a venture of discovery. That requires more and not less freedom. The bedrock of such an institution will be curiosity, passion, with vulnerability and humility. That is a combination of being bold to try new things, test unknown vistas of knowledge, and the courage to forge ahead in full knowledge that history may prove one to have been wrong. There is no point in being right and do nothing. Above all, staff and students, with the community they serve are buoyed by the love of learning – culture, litearature, the arts, religion, the sciences, technology and all that makes for human flourishing.

So understood, what matters is no so much the walls and portals, the architectural wonder tat good universities can be, vital as all that may be, not just students and professors within it, however essential they may be to the task of a university. It is rather at all times the people who ultimately are the beneficiaries of the knowledge that is hammered out betwixt the hammer and the anvil of the university. Debates about anti-colonialism, the struggles against imperialism, or even Africanisation, may have a limited lifespan in the fashions of learning and scholarship, but more vital is how we are to confront the problems, possibilities and challenges of the present to shape a better future.

In 2015/16 we are confronted by a crazy world of Donald Trump, Un Jun Kim of North Korea and others whose blinkered preoccupation with power and narrow nationalisms on the brink of the precipice. They carry on regardless in a new venture of “greatness” as defined in narrow nationalistic terms. These new nationalism pose dangers to the peace and prosperity of the world and are not much different from Hitler’s Nazi ideology! But even more, they cast a pall on the idea of ideas, the exhileration of knowledge and the excitement of scholarship. In their vocabulary science is a tool for mutual destruction – and no more. Or watch the madness of modernist identity politics that is tearing Europe apart as we speak – whither Spain without Catalan, or Ukraine or Brexit! We now face a world where the finger is on the nuclea button dangerously poised at the slightest sign of defiance by North Korea.

But nonetheless, science now explores the vastness and the depths of the oceans, the galaxies of the stars, and exploring new planets for signs of life and human sustainability. The environment and the climate change, with the ecology thereof beckon towards new and expanded ways of understanding how our world functions. Land and sea, and sky and all that is in them, with the human curiosity, are all that make human intelligence and sustainability vital. We live in a world where viortually anything has become possible. Our sons and daughters no longer just sudy philosophy but artificial intelligence and robotics have so advanced technology that informations travels vast spaces at the speed of light, and drone-technology now showes us that we could have driver-less (meaning self-drive) motor vehicles on our roads in no time. Such is the brave new world withon our grasp. For that a new university is called for. Africa has the hisdtorical possibility of now being one with and equal to anyone as the creators and developers of new knowledge. Africans are there among the best in the new science and technology.

This is the era of the fourth industrial revolution. The dark satanic mills of Charles Dickens may be no more, having given way to exploration of the minutest detail of the cosmos and particles of matter. We are facing a future not just of uncertainty, but where new know ledge gives humankind the capacity to explore some hitherto unknown reaches of the universe, and to stretch into the deepest recesses of the human mind. However, that knowledge carries with it the resurgent idea of what it is to be human. The being of humanity has taken centre stage, both about the span and extent of human knowledge, but also the freedom to think the hitherto unthinkable. The fourth technological revolution is an invitation, an invitation to explore, to search, to discover, and it is the promise of even more freedom, and greater knowledge. As human beings we are poised between the knowledge of human agency, and the recognition of human limitations in realising what we desire. Universities therefore are challenged to shape new ideologies and structures of belief and engagement. That is because universities must now serve masters different from and set apart even from much that we have known before. I have the idea that the recent FeesMustFall Movement that swept through our univsity campuses in the last two years simply scratched the surface of the challenges of our age, but failed to realise this moment of destiny, a time when the prospect of shaping a new university was tantalisingly close, but needed the partnership of all social and intellectual forces and partners for change. This is more than ‘free higher education’, and even more than pronouncements about being black and made to feel insignificant at our universities and experiencing hardship and alienation, important as all that must be. It my view, the challenge is to establish a developmental university.

A developmental university, therefore is shaped by an intelligent understanding of how human nature finds development and sustainability within and beyond a world that is forever changing. A developmental university is not stand-still, waiting for the inevitable to happen. It creates and it anticipates; it defies at times the laws of nature and makes new laws and reality possible; and it seeks to advance the common good. As a site of learning it is alive to the opportunities and prospects for developing and discovering knowledge. It is developmental in that it is not confined to or discouraged by the limitations and inadequacies one finds, but has the insight to discern new possibilities and prospects. It embraces the mission to extract value out of potential. And it dares to believe in a better world. It accepts that the world as we have it is both finite in that it does not last forever, and it is changing in the sense that it will not remain unmoved for ever. Humans in that environment are not the unmoved mover of philosophy, but seek that which sustains human wellbeing and betterment.

Sustainability is not and can never be about living with changelessness. Rather it is as former Archbishop of Canterbury, Lord Rowan Williams (2012:235) says, living with a future that may not be yet, but that which can be imagined. That which can be imagined, can become appropriated already, it has a place in our hearts and minds, and it raises a commitment to work towards its realisation. It traces continuities and discontinuities with the present. Sustainability entails solidarity, ingenuity and continuity. Sustanable environments put on the present generation both an appreciation of value, and a responsibility towards what we already have, in order that a future pregnant with meaning can unfold. Sustainability is to trace a thread of meaning and value from the present to a distant future.

But this idea of a developmental university draws partially from the concept of a developmental state. Such a state is one which becomes the driver of human capital and development. It is a strong and intervening state in public affairs. The state, however, becomes the servant of the people, draws its authority from the relationship with the people ultimately for the good of the people. The energies of the state, its intelligence and wealth have no other value apart from the people for whose benefit and in whose interest it seeks to serve. The development one refers to here is much more than “developmentalism” in political economic theory. Rather it is both a political and an ethical concept. It is so because it is about human well-being, or wellness, about human flourishing in a world that is in constant flux. It behoves to point out that what has been woefully lacking at our campuses through the “FeesMustFall” protests is the readiness to engage in a conversation whose purpose will be to hammer a new idea of the university. It may well be that the structures of the university shaped as they are by Eurocentric notions of organisation of knowledge systems and power relations may not have served this ideal of dialogue as equals. Dialogue is what we deserve as a people. Dialogue comes out of a recognition that none of us actually possess all knowledge, neither do we have all the answers, nor do we have the monopoly of solutions to problems. By dialogue we enrich one another, and we are freed in mind and spirit to be, out of a recognition that all of us have a stake in an enriched future.

The UNDP has developed the Human Development Index as a “statistical tool” to measure societal achievement not as a matter for individual achievement and satisfaction in the numbers per se, but as a measure of well-being of humanity as social, economic as well as the environment in which they exist and get fulfilment. It has thus been said that people and their well-being become the measure of society’s development. As such human development is not mere economic statistics but it is about people. There is an important principle about human development that is central to the literature on human development. Human development is about exercising and enlarging freedoms so that human beings can pursue their life choices that they value, to their own flourishing and cognisant of the well being of others. This freedom comes in two forms. One, freedom of well being, expressed in functionalities and capabilities in life – to enjoy longer and rewarding life,healthy life, education opportunities, a more decent standard of living, and a caring environment. Freedom of agency is about giving voice to matters of substance and that matter to you, and to be able to exercise human agency independently, as an autonomous being. A life lived under such circumstances gives people a confidence to believe that they are in charge of their lives, can make decisions and choices and can determine their future and their life circumstances.

Human development of the people is, says the UNDP Human Development Report, is “development of the people through building human capabilities by the people through active participation in the processes that shape their lives, and for the people by improving their lives.” Translated to a developmental universal then this becomes an idea (rather than an institution, as in buildings and walls!) that human flourishing and fulfilment is derived from human solidarity explored through a variety of knowledge systems so as to make for a better world. A developmental university places humanity at the centre of its mission for the advancement of knowledge. In a developmental university, I believe, students are partners and co-creators in learning and scholarship not for their own sake or benefit, but so as to extend the range of agency for the good of the people in society.

The Constitution of the Republic of South Africa (1996) has some immortal words in the Preamble thereto when it sets as the intent of the Constitution, namely, “ to improve the quality of life of all citizens and free the potential of each person…” In putting it like this, the drafters of the Constitution make the point that human flourishing and well being are never just a products of the present, or what is. It is also about the potentiality that lies unrecognised in us, which once brought out to flourish will create a new human being. Every person, therefore, eevery situation, is capable of development. In a very deep sense that is just what a University stands for. It prepares us for the present, but that it also mines value out of that which is not yet seen. That statement must, I believe, be read with the Founding Provisions of the Constitution in s. 1 that the Republic of South Africa is “one, sovereign, dand democratic state founded on the following values…(a) human dignity, the achievement of equality, and th advanc meant of human rights and freedoms..” Like glove-in-hand this developmental task would not be possible without a commanding vision that is necessary to assure human sustenance, and the assurance of rights that makes human development to become fulfilled. The modern university in South Africa therefore is set within a premise of values of the Constitution that facilitate its developmental mission.

I have often argued that, in a rather perverse manner, we are indebted to President Jacob Zuma and his merry men and women meddlers, that South Africa has developed an amazing body of jurisprudence pertaining to good governance in a constitutional state. Were it not for that we would have been in a worse state, with an autocratic president, dominance by a supine parliament and a president who is more comfortable as a leader in a feudal state. If you like we would have to contend with a President for Life and a One party state. Of course, in saying so, one must give due regard to the vigilance and ingenuity of some in the Opposition benches in Parliament, and civil society organisations, including the churches, who have been relentless in calling the President to account, and stemming the abuse of power. Had it not been for the Constitution and the courts, among such groundbreaking decisions have been the insertion of the duty to ensure that any exercise of public power must be both legal and rational intended only to achieve the purpose for which it is intended. The Presidential prerogative in making appointments and making pronouncements must also satisfy the President’s duty to “uphold, defend and respect the Constitution as the supreme law of the Republic” (s.83(b)). There is also the added obligation that being the supreme law of the Republic, law and conduct inconsistent with the Constitution is invalid, and the obligations prescribed therein are binding. The protection of the independence of independent constitutional bodies like the NPA, and the Hawks and SIU have been protected, and the integrity of appointments made by the President have been tested and at times declared invalid where they failed the constitutional muster. The exercise of the powers of the Speaker of the National Assembly, and the of extent of the powers and privileges of Parliament in relation to freedom of speech, among others have also been tested. Last week, we had yet another judgment by the SCA pronouncing on the rationality of the decision of then Acting NDPP to withdraw the criminal charges against Mr Jacob Zuma. This happened ahead of his election as President in 2009. A succession of decisions of the Constitutional Court have opened the eyes of the electorate to the perverse effects of “state capture”. There can be hardly any South African today who does not recognise that so much is remiss in the affairs of state, thanks to the media and to a civil society that is consciousand vigilant about the limits of state power. That is what has made our democracy so healthy, less due to the conviction of our political leaders rather it has been through a vigilant media and civil society. Sadly, universities though guaranteed institutional autonomy, and researchers and scholars, “academic freedom and freedom of scientific research” (s.16(1)(d)) by the Constitution, have been subjected to aggressive encroachments to this prized autonomy.

Placed that against the commitment enshrined in the National Development Plan that by 2030 South Africa would eliminate poverty and reduce inequality, it is not hard to find that the government under President Zuma is bound to fail in its own objectives. The NDP has the proud endorsement of all the political formations and parties in Parliament. It reflects the greatest consensus there could be short of the Constitution about a common vision, and a shared future for our country. What the NDP fails to impose sadly is a rigorous system of good governance. With so much poverty, inequality and hunger defined in terms of black and white, women and men, as well as rural and urban, South Africa is arguably more divided today than it was even under apartheid. With a burgeoning and hardly regulated immigration, planning is at risk of becoming uncontrollable. With spiralling crime, sprawling non formal conurbations, an education system in crisis and under-performing in terms of expectations, and with official unemployment statistics at nearly 28% without any sign that the government has the intellectual means of arresting the slide, and where more than 50% of young people between the ages of 19-35 years in chronic unemployment, and into that cocktail of failure to govern, add corruption and you have a society at the point of ungovernability. The economy is in doldrums and society is not given any confidence that government plans will improve the dysfunctional performance of the economy, growth at doldrums, state owned enterprises serving no more than milch cows for the criminal enrichment of the political elite. Such a government fails not just itself in terms of what it had promised, it fails the people especially the young whose future is blighted.

Instead we have a Head of State facing hundreds of charges for corruption, an economy in doldrums, ministers serving only their own and their Master’s aggrandisement. In total we have a government that is classically the very anti-thesis of a developmental state, a I have defined it. As matters currently stand, democracy has become meaningless, and merely a prisoner of those whose career is stealing and looting from state coffers.

I make that detour only to state that a developmental university in a state is not always or just a silent partner, but that at times it is an adversary. It is a partner whenever the state seeks intellectual resources, research or training or ideas to enhance its provision of the public goods. However, whenever the state evinces conduct and practices inimical to the very idea of a University, it becomes the duty of the university to call the state into its mission and value in the interests of the mission of the university itself. Th university cannot be separated from the highest ideals of being human. When it does so, it fails in its mission.

Archbishop Thabo Makgoba Annual Lecture on Ethics and Moral leadership

University of Mpumalanga

Mbombela, 17 October 2017.

Prof Pityana is an adviser to the Thabo Mbeki Foundation; the retired Principal and Vice Chancellor of the University of South Africa (UNISA); Professor emeritus of Law, UNISA; and Visiting Professor in Philosophy Department, Rhodes University.


PHOTOS: Women’s Conference & Synod of Bishops

The Conference marking the 25th anniversary of the the ordination of women to the priesthood and the September meeting of the Synod of Bishops were held at the same venue in Boksburg, near Johannesburg. Both meetings ended with a joint special Eucharist and a photo session.

Participants in the conference which celebrated the 25th anniversary of the ordination of women as priests.
The September 2017 meeting of the Synod of Bishops.
Bishops join the Women’s Conference participants for a photo.