This past week Chief Justice Zondo handed over the final report (Part VI) of the Judicial Commission of Inquiry into State Capture to President Ramaphosa. A monumental achievement to bring thousands of hours of testimony together into a document that pin-points many involved in large scale corruption with the hope of holding them to account as well as reveal the corrupt mechanisms employed with the hope that it will be more difficult to do so in the future. Commissions of Inquiry seldom bring instant gratification. They do however provide an important public record that says to denialism, this far and no further. They provide a mirror for society to see itself more truthfully. And to the extent that the report is acted upon, and not simply read, they provide a purchase point from which systemic change may be levered.
Commenting on the State Capture report Stephen Grootes in Daily Maverick writes:
As a result, this mammoth document is likely to also be looked to as a blueprint for our future, a bible for a new South African state. And as it was the case when the Christian Bible was put together in the 5th century Alexandria, one of the most contentious issues will be which of Zondo’s recommendations will be followed and which will not.
There are important reasons to be cynical. It is a certainty almost everywhere that politicians are loath to accept changes to the system that got them into their positions. This is why large-scale change often has to be forced on them through elections, or revolutions.
There is also the disappointing history of the National Development Plan. It too was a blueprint for our future and it had wide public and political support. Despite being passed by acclamation at the ANC’s 2012 Mangaung Conference, most of it was ignored.
It is entirely possible the same fate could befall the Zondo Commission Report.
We should know the truth of these words better than most, because we know how the Bible has been used throughout history. The Bible is a mixed bag. It includes the most radical principles of justice, equality and liberation ever imagined as well as texts that are terribly oppressive, ethnocentric and patriarchal. Yes, not everything that is biblical is Christ-like. Yet, sadly we have too often shown more energy in using these unjust texts to support systems of exclusive privilege and power in society. We obsess about matters sexual of which Jesus says very little, while we all but ignore matters of war, of which Jesus says a great deal. On an analysis of Church history you would swear that Jesus is anti sex and pro war … resulting in too many people shameful of sex and too many proud of war. We “strain out a gnat but swallow a camel.” (Matt. 23:24)
So as we consider the many responses to the Judicial Commission of Inquiry into State Capture, we are invited to consider how we selectively use and misuse the Bible.
Now, just as most of us will read summaries of the Zondo report rather than wade through all 5 500+ pages, may I suggest we re-read the Sermon on the Mount (just in case you’re not up to wading through all 66 books of the Bible). You will find the Sermon on the Mount in three succinct chapters: Matthew 5-7. If you have never read it before, a gift awaits you. Notably Jesus ends off with these words, which also holds true for the Zondo Commission report: “Everyone then who hears these words of mine and acts on them will be like a wise person who built their house on rock…” Matt. 7:24. If we don’t want our country to be washed away by corruption we better act on this Judicial Commission of Inquiry into State Capture. And if we don’t want more Commissions of Inquiry we better act on the Sermon on the Mount.
Here is the link to the The Nathan Commission of Inquiry – seeing the Commission into State Capture through the lens of David’s rape of Bathsheba.
The Wearing of Masks is no longer mandatory—herewith communication from Bishop Yvette Moses:
Today an official announcement was made by Government authorities and formally Gazetted in which Covid-19 Regulations have changed with immediate effect. The wearing of masks is no longer mandatory and there are no longer any limitation on numbers in any gathering.
It was further stated that should people, for whatever reason, choose to wear masks, this should not be discouraged. The fact is that Covid-19 is not over – we are simply learning to live with this reality. We are also in the middle of winter, which is cold and flu season. Many of us continue to live with long-Covid and compromised immune systems, as well as the reality of poverty and its impact on living conditions which often leads to poor health and access to healthcare.
It is wise to encourage voluntary mask wearing by those who are vulnerable, have flu or other respiratory conditions, or who may be compromised in any way. No discrimination should be shown towards any who choose to wear masks or any who choose not to do so. We continue to encourage vaccination against Covid-19 and flu, as this remains the most effective way to protect against more serious flu and serious Covid-19 infection and hospitalisation.
As Methodists people we are guided by our Rule of Life – Do no harm, Do good, and attending upon the ordinances of God – as we seek to do justice, love mercy and walk humbly with our God. (Micah 6:8)