14 July 2021
Methodists Condemn the Violent Protests, Looting and Destruction
of Property in South Africa
The Methodist Church of Southern Africa (MCSA) joins all South African churches and condemns in strong terms the violent and destructive protests and looting of shops that have spread throughout South Africa in the wake of former President Zuma’s incarceration.
“The scenes of groups of people – called “protesters”- throwing stones, burning trucks, looting and destroying property are agonising to watch. In a democratic country, where people have freedom of speech and rights to protest, there is no justification for the violent actions to communicate dissatisfaction about anything. There are many legitimate reasons why many South Africans- especially young people, are angry -including high levels of corruption; unemployment; poverty; hunger and sheer hopelessness. None of these however, will be addressed or solved by the present destruction. These protests are endangering lives and livelihoods and crippling an already reeling economy. It remains the task of the police to hold all the perpetrators of violence to account and to, through their visible presence and policing in our communities, prevent any further destruction,” said Bishop Purity Malinga, Presiding Bishop of the MCSA speaking from Johannesburg.
We note with concern, that in the presence of the police and the SANDF the looters continues to brazenly loot! We call on the leadership of the country to intensify the means of dealing with this crisis. We strongly urge all people of good will in communities to condemn and reject the senseless, inexcusable violence and criminal behaviour that is taking place.
In the midst of this lawlessness no one is safe, especially the most vulnerable of society. In the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic these protests are also super spreader events which have the potential to put additional pressure on our already overwhelmed health system.
The Presiding Bishop calls all Methodists to stand against violence protests and destructive act of looting. “As people of faith, ours is to be people of positive influence. We are there in
different leadership levels and structures of communities. So, let us be actively involved in building peace and creating safe spaces for dialogue. We are to stand and call for peace and justice where ever we are. In this situation all of us are called to encourage restraint and refuse to be part of this lawlessness which is detrimental to the nation as a whole”, she said.
“To those who incite this violence and mayhem for political ends, we call upon them to desist from that and rise above selfish political interests. In a country that is hailed worldwide to
have achieved its democracy through dialogue and peaceful means, what is taking place is contrary to the values that founded our democracy. We call on all politicians to choose the path of peace and dialogue especially in their public pronouncements- for the good of South Africa.
We call on all Methodists to pray for the people of KZN and Gauteng who have been directly affected by these protests, for people who have lost their lives, their loved ones and their
jobs and property and for peace.
Let us pray for South Africa and her leaders, as we pray for peace in the Kingdom of Eswatini
and the Cabo Delgado Province of Mozambique. Lord! In your mercy, hear our prayers.