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Thabo Makgoba, South African Anglican Archbishop of Cape Town.
Jeffrey Abrahams, Gallo Images
- Anglican Archbishop Thabo Makgoba says people’s trust in politicians and government continue to deteriorate.
- Makgoba delivered his Christmas Eve message at the St. George Cathedral in Cape Town on Friday.
- He encouraged South Africans to get vaccinated and be able to move freely while being protected against Covid-19.
Anglican Archbishop Thabo Makgoba has warned of growing distrust in the democratic government because of its governance failures and continued misuse of public funds and corruption.
Delivering his Christmas Eve message on Friday at the St George’s Cathedral in Cape Town, Makgoba cited the Afrobarometer survey conducted this year which illustrated how distrustful South Africans have become of politicians.
“We face difficult times ahead, especially if political parties cannot succeed in working together in coalitions. One of the other findings of the Afrobarometer survey was that two-thirds of South Africans would be willing to sacrifice regular elections if a non-elected government or leader could impose law and order, and deliver houses and jobs; moreover the most trusted government institution after the Department of Health was the army,” said Makgoba.
The message is clear, he said and added: “If coalition politics do not improve people’s lives, then there is a real danger that South Africans will turn away from democracy to authoritarian rule.”
“That has never ended well – ask those of our fellow Africans who have lived under an authoritarian regime,” Makgoba said.
The Archbishop added that many issues contributed to the unrest and looting that took place in KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng five months ago, in which more than 300 people died and thousands of businesses were destroyed.
“But can there be any doubt that the lack of trust in state institutions has undermined the authority and legitimacy of our government? In fact, the only institutions which enjoyed the trust of most South Africans were the media – which has distinguished itself in recent years by exposing public and private sector corruption, and the Department of Health – which has engendered trust by its handling of the pandemic.”
Makgoba encouraged the public to get vaccinated because the new coronavirus variant Omicron wreaks havoc. It initially started driving infections in Gauteng. His church made vaccinations for the clergy mandatory, he said.
“Who could have predicted that 12 months later, after the hope given to us by the arrival of vaccines and the adjustments we have made to take this virus in our stride, that we would be faced with a challenge such as we have now? We were told that we would be hit with new variants, and so we were, with Delta and now with Omicron.”
Makgoba said we had to get our heads around the complexities of Omicron.
“While it has not so far made people as ill as Delta has, one study in Hong Kong says it is 70 times more contagious than Delta. It reinforces the need for all who want to move around freely in our community to be vaccinated, not only for their protection but for the protection of others. A need our church’s Provincial Synod has underlined by making vaccination mandatory for clergy,” he added.
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