The Southern African Catholic Bishops’ Conference is profoundly disturbed by Deputy Finance Minister Mcebisi Jonas’s confirmation that he was offered the post of Finance Minister by members of the Gupta family.
It is vital that high offices of State should not be compromised by the involvement of parties with commercial or personal interests. There are no circumstances which would justify this kind of interference; no-one outside the most senior leadership of the government and the governing party should be in a position to make such offers.
Mr Jonas’s revelation lends credence to other claims of involvement by the same family in the appointment of ministers.
Such interference seriously undermines transparent and accountable governance in South Africa, and betrays our people’s struggle for political and economic freedom.
The Southern African Catholic Bishops’ Conference therefore calls upon President Jacob Zuma and the leadership of the African National Congress to demonstrate unambiguously that such alarming improprieties in the conduct of high government business will no longer be tolerated.
We wish to stress that this is a matter of vital interest for common good of all South Africans; it is not a question of party politics, in which, we as a church denomination, have no specific interest.
South Africa is passing through a difficult period, politically and economically, and it is only by adhering to fundamental values of good governance and integrity in public life that we will be able to face up to and overcome our challenges.
Statement issued by Archbishop Stephen Brislin, President of the Southern African Catholic Bishops' Conference on 17 March 2016.
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