Friday 27 August 2010

Condolences following the Blackheath Train / Taxi Collision

This statement was issued on 26 August 2010

I want to express my shock and deep sadness at the tragic taxi/train accident yesterday in Blackheath, which resulted in the deaths of 9 children and injuries to five other children and the taxi driver.

On behalf of the entire Anglican Church of Southern Africa I offer assurance of our prayers and sincere condolences to the families of those children who died as well as to their fellow students at Good Hope and Kalksteenfontein Primary Schools, and Bellville, Kasselsvlei, and Kuilsriver Technical Schools. We are praying for the repose of the souls of those who died and also praying that God will give peace and hope, comfort and strength, to their families and all who mourn their deaths, as well as to all those caught up in this terrible tragedy.

Early reports have indicated that the driver of the taxi ignored the warning lights and the operation of crossing booms, designed to avoid such tragedies. I join others in calling for a thorough investigation of this accident, and if the driver of the taxi is found negligent, that he be subject to the strongest sentence possible.

The rules of the road are in place to ensure the safety of us all and it is imperative that we uphold them for every road user. Our experience of the World Cup showed that we can improve our public transportation system, especially for those who commute daily. Better transportation, including for learners, has the potential to help bridge the gaps of race and class which still exists.

Condolences on the Death of Joe Matthews

This statement was issued on 25 August 2010

The Anglican Archbishop of Cape Town, the Most Revd Dr Thabo Makgoba, has sent condolences to the family of the late struggle leader, Joe Matthews, describing him as 'a man of the highest principles' whom 'the country owes a considerable debt of gratitude'.

'We give thanks to God for him, and we owe it to his legacy to continue to pursue excellence in every sphere with the same integrity' Dr Makgoba went on to say, noting that he had shared the same high standards and aspirations as his father, ZK Matthews, in dedicating his long and distinguished life of service to the freedom and well-being of South Africa and all its citizens.

He assured the Matthews family of the prayers of the Anglican Church of Southern Africa, as they prepare for Saturday's funeral, which will be held at St George's Cathedral, Cape Town.

Thursday 19 August 2010

Visit To Khayelitsha To Assess Toilet Situation

On Monday 23 August the Most Reverend Dr Thabo Makgoba, Anglican Archbishop of Cape Town and Chairperson of the Western Cape Religious Leaders Forum (WCRFL), will lead a group of senior religious leaders in a ‘prayerful solidarity visit’ to Khayelitsha. The religious leaders from Jewish, Christian, Muslim, Hindu, Baha’i and African Traditional communities will be escorted by the Social Justice Coalition (SJC) on an assessment of sanitation, including toilet, facilities in RR Section and Makhaza, and will listen to residents affected by inadequate sanitation.

The visit will begin in RR Section, one of Khayelitsha’s poorest and most underdeveloped informal settlements, to assess the provision of sanitation services. They will then go to Makhaza to review the situation with the unenclosed toilets, originally inspected by the Archbishop on Tuesday 8 June. The visit will conclude with prayers in Makhaza for those affected by the consequences of inadequate sanitation.

Upon first visiting the site of the unenclosed toilets the Archbishop wrote an open letter to the Mayor of the City of Cape Town, Dan Plato, urging him to acknowledge serious flaws in the process and adhere to the recommendations made in the recent Human Rights Commission findings. He suggested that a public meeting needed to be called and offered his personal assistance as a mediator. The SJC welcomes the Archbishop’s dedication to resolving the current impasse.

The Western Cape Religious Leaders Forum believe that the faith sector must be on the cutting edge of transformation and service delivery, by being visibly present wherever people’s basic rights are being denied and their human dignity is undermined. Prayerful solidarity can open the door to strong action by the faith communities, so offering encouragement and helping to bring about hope- and life-giving change for the disadvantaged.

The Social Justice Coalition welcomes the support of the faith sector in its campaign for access to sanitation facilities, and the challenge to uphold each person’s right to a healthy, safe and dignified life.

Background Information

According to the Water Dialogues report (2009), approximately half a million people in informal settlements in the City of Cape Town have access to an inadequate or non-existent sanitation service. The Department of Water and Environmental Affairs acknowledges that in South Africa over 100 children may die daily from diarrhoeal diseases, while adequate sanitation can reduce the incidence of diarrhoeal diseases by up to 40% (see

Note to media: The group will begin their visit at 3pm at the O R Tambo Centre in Mew Way. The visit should be concluded by 4.30pm.

Issued on 19 August 2010 by the Office of the Anglican Archbishop of Cape Town, the WCRLF and the SJC. For further information contact Elizabeth Petersen, Consultant, WCRLF, Tel: 021 462 2277; Cell: 082 4755116; Email: or Tom Adams of the Social Justice Coalition, Tel: 0213618160; Cell: 0765366219 Email:

A Call for an End to Public Service Strike

The public service strike is causing suffering to hospital patients, students and learners, and government and union negotiators should act urgently to end it, the Anglican Archbishop of Cape Town, the Most Revd Dr Thabo Makgoba, said today. [Thursday]

He also called for essential staff in institutions such as hospitals to return to work immediately.

“Our country is facing a huge crisis at this moment,” he said. “Striking essential public service employees and educators are, however unintentionally, causing much anguish and even physical suffering.”

Addressing striking workers, he added: “We understand your plight and your rights to seek justice in terms of fair and adequate salaries and other benefits, especially in the face of corruption by some government officials.

“However, the present strikes are creating suffering – for patients in hospitals, especially those who are seriously ill; for out-patients no longer able to receive much-needed medication; for students who are working hard to prepare for matric examinations and for learners who are trying to develop a culture of education and learning in order to improve their chances in the future.

“These strikes are doing a great deal of harm to our country – and this is something we cannot afford to continue.

“How do we look at our society and say, ‘let not your hearts be troubled,’ when patients needing high levels of care are without proper nursing staff and students are told they must provide for their own education?

“How do we hold the face of God, who is the God of justice, before all who are suffering now?

“We urge all essential service staff to return to your positions immediately. At the same time, we urge government ministers and to all others involved to negotiate an urgent resolution to this crippling action.”

Wednesday 18 August 2010

Communicating with Bishopscourt

The following note has been issued, clarifying communication with Bishopscourt

In order to improve and ensure greater administrative efficiency at Bishopscourt, we request that in future all correspondence or enquiries be directed as follows:-

1. All matters pertaining to the Diocese of Cape Town for the attention of the Archbishop should be directed to Ms. Sisanda Majikazana whose contact details are: Telephone 021 763 1320 Postal address 20 Bishopscourt Drive, Bishopscourt, Claremont, 7708

2. All matters relating to Public Affairs, Public Policy, the Archbishop’s engagements and matters for the attention of the Archbishop, should be directed to the Archbishop’s PA Mrs. Cheryl Vallay at Telephone 021 763 1323 Postal address 20 Bishopscourt Drive, Bishopscourt, Claremont, 7708

3. All matters from bishops, dioceses, other than the Cape Town Diocese, or pertaining to the Synod of Bishops, Provincial Synod, Provincial Standing Committee, correspondence from USPG, United Thank Offering, Trinity Wall Street and other overseas funders, ecumenical and interreligious affairs and all matters relating to ACSA should be directed to the Provincial Executive Officer at Telephone 021 763 1325. Postal Address Bishopscourt Drive, Bishopscourt, Claremont, 7708

4. All matters pertaining to the Provincial Pension Fund, the Layworkers Pension Fund, Pension Fund Home Loans, Provincial Trust Board and the Provincial Common Fund and finances should be directed to Mr. Rob Rogerson at Telephone 086 100 1171 Postal Address PO Box 53014 Kenilworth 7745.

It is hoped that by directing correspondence to the persons mentioned above that we will be able to respond to your enquiries within 48 hours or sooner. Your assistance and cooperation in this would be greatly appreciated

Thursday 12 August 2010

Letter to the People of the Diocese of George

Letter from the Archbishop of Cape Town, 10 July 2010 (Please read this in conjunction with the Letter to the Laos, in the posting below.)

To God’s faithful people in the Diocese of George


In January 2009 I was informed about administrative mismanagement within the Diocese of George. The document informing me of this mismanagement was signed by the majority of the Trust and Finance Board as well as by all the Archdeacons. The document asserted that mismanagement was a result of the Diocesan Bishop, Bishop Donald Harker, not carrying out his fiduciary responsibilities in a responsible manner. This document was generated in accordance with Canons and Constitution of the Anglican Church of Southern Africa.

Since then three Provincial Teams have visited the Diocese of George to investigate more fully the assertions. What became clear was that significant fraud and theft had taken place in the diocese of George and that a Forensic Audit was required to ascertain the extent of the amount embezzled. Messrs PKF, an audit company operating in Port Elizabeth, was contracted by the province to undertake the audit which was completed some five months after the original engagement date. The delay was largely brought about by the number of fraudulent transactions. In most Forensic Audits fraud is limited to approximately 15-20 transactions. In the case of the Diocese of George this figure was approximately 1000 counts of fraud or suspicious transactions.

At the conclusion of the visit a report including recommendations was provided to me. As a result of the recommendations I have taken the following actions:

1. I have visited the Diocese of George and met with Bishop Donald Harker and his wife, Mrs Joan Harker. During the course of our discussion, Bishop Donald Harker agreed to step down as Diocesan Bishop with effect from the 10th of August 2010.

2. Consequently, I have appointed the Revd Canon Brian Marajh as Vicar General to act on my behalf until a new bishop is installed. The mandate of the Vicar General will include the implementation of good governance structures and the oversight of legislation.

3. I met with the Rectors and Churchwardens of the diocese to share the general findings of the forensic audit and the measures taken to normalise the present situation of uncertainty.

4. I have appointed a small team under the chair of the Diocesan Registrar, Mr Kenneth Peters to determine whether individuals named in the report would face civil or criminal liability and to report back to me by the 10th August 2010.

5. I have dissolved the current Board of Trustees and Finance and have appointed an interim Board to oversee the asset management of the Diocese until the next sitting of Diocesan Synod.

6. Furthermore I have agreed to lead a clergy retreat as part of the process of healing and renewal.

Having visited the Diocese, I am reassured that the remedial steps taken to date are providing a firm foundation for the management and good governance of the Diocese and the steps above will further enhance this process.

And now unto him, who is able to keep us from falling and to present us without blemish before the presence of his glory with rejoicing to the only God, our Saviour through Jesus Christ our Lord be glory, majesty, dominion, and authority before all time now and forever. Amen.

Yours in the Service of Christ

+Thabo Cape Town

To the Laos - To the People of God, August 2010

Dear People of God

St Peter wrote ‘Beloved, beware that you are not carried away with the error of the lawless … but grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ’ (2 Pet 3:17-18a), and Jesus himself had particularly harsh words for those religious leaders, who, by their conduct or teaching, undermined the faith of those entrusted to their care.

I write these words, because one of the most difficult and distressing parts of life as Archbishop is dealing with reports of Christian leaders – ordained or lay – who in some way fail or otherwise fall short in living out their calling. Whether this is by neglecting responsibilities, or abuse of position, too often the root cause lies in putting self interest above the interests of those they are called to serve. Jesus rightly warned, ‘Be on your guard against every form of greed’ (Lk 12:15) – alongside money and material acquisition, this can mean status, power (including the abuse of relationships), or other forms of selfishness.

We serve a holy God, who calls us to holiness in every part of life. While he does not expect us to be perfect, he does call for sustained discipleship, in which we strive to grow in Christlikeness. In this way we are called to be salt and light to the world. Yet we cannot speak out against corruption, call for the highest ethical standards and integrity in politics, business, and throughout society, and press for an ethos of service rather than self-promotion, if we do not insist on the same standards ourselves. We must ‘walk the talk’, as I was reminded when I participated in the Radio 702 5km walk with St Monica’s Midrand last month.

Ours is the God of infinite mercy and infinite justice – but not of ‘cheap grace’. Dietrich Bonhoeffer, the German theologian killed for opposing Hitler, described cheap grace as ‘preaching forgiveness without requiring repentance, baptism without church discipline. Communion without confession. Cheap grace is grace without discipleship, grace without the cross, grace without Jesus Christ.’ St Paul also opposed cheap grace in his letter to the Romans (Rom 6:1-4).

And so this leads me to comment on one such case, reports of which have appeared in the media. In the Diocese of George, Bishop Donald Harker has stepped down, after a forensic audit identified fraud or suspicious transactions in the Diocesan accounts. For the sake of transparency, I am releasing onto my blog and the ACSA website my letter of 10 July to the Diocese of George, which gives fuller background to these events.

Due processes still have some way to run, and there is no intention to sweep anything under the carpet. As the Provincial Treasurer has since told the media, parties named in the audit are being afforded the chance to answer queries, and in some cases, missing documentation has been supplied which accounts for some of the transactions. Where anyone is found to have been enriched, but without criminal intent, it is possible for funds to be recovered either by repayment to the church or through civil action. But where there is evidence of specific fraud or theft, a criminal case will have to be made, and a small committee has been established to assess criminal and civil liabilities.

Meanwhile, I have appointed the Revd Canon Brian Marajh as Vicar General, with a mandate that includes implementing good governance structures and overseeing appropriate new Diocesan legislation. Please pray for him, and for all the Diocese, as they go forward from this point. My intention is to lead a clergy retreat early next year, as part of the process of healing and renewal.

Sisters and brothers in Christ, we are all frail and fallible human beings, and we must beware not ‘to think of ourselves more highly than we ought’ (cf. Rom 12:3), especially those of us in leadership, and so risk falling into temptation. Brothers and sisters in Christ, do pray for your leaders, and do not be afraid to speak out where warning needs to be given. As older Bible translations put it, ‘let us provoke one another to good deeds’ (Heb 10:24), and let us always model best practice, holding it up for the world to see.

Transparency in the running of parishes and dioceses, as well as the Province, is always to be welcomed, as it helps us hold one another to account. This is true not only of church governance but also in politics, and throughout wider society. As Jesus said, knowing the truth sets us free (cf.Jn 8:32). This, and the reverse – namely that abuses can be perpetrated under censorship and inappropriate secrecy – was our experience under apartheid. Media freedom, properly used, is our ally in this area. For this reason, I am seriously concerned by the proposed South African Protection of Information Bill.

Dear people of God, though I write of such serious matters, do not be downhearted, for Jesus has broken the power of sin and death, and these will not prevail. There is far more happening throughout our Church that spreads the good news of Jesus Christ, builds the kingdom of God and proclaims his glory! I see this myself, as I travel around the Province. Since I last wrote, we had a wonderful celebration of the inauguration of the new Diocese of Mbashe; and a joyful consecration of Bishop Daniel Kgomosotho, as the second Bishop of Mpumalanga. On 1 August, I joined around three thousand people, perhaps more, in Sekhukhuneland, for the annual Manche Masemola pilgrimage service. It was a remarkable time of remembering the faithfulness of this young girl, despite opposition that cost her her life – and of the redemptive power of God to use the tragedy of her death to bring newness of life. It was a wonderful affirmation also of God at work in and through African life and culture: he is the God of every people on this planet, and he meets us where we are as he calls us to follow him.

Finally, let me end with a prayer drawn that underlines the confidence that is rightly ours, in our God’s desire and ability to enable us to walk the path to which he calls us: ‘Now to him who is able to keep you from falling, and to make you stand without blemish in the presence of his glory with rejoicing, to the only God our Saviour, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, power, and authority, before all time and now and for ever. Amen’ (Jude 24-25).

Yours in the Service of Christ

+Thabo Cape Town

Sunday 8 August 2010

Message on the Monsoon Flooding in Pakistan

On 5 August, the Anglican Archbishop of Cape Town, the Most Revd Dr Thabo Cecil Makgoba, sent the following message to the leaders of the Church in Pakistan, following the severe flooding and loss of life.

To: The Rt Revd Samuel Azariah, Moderator of the Church of Pakistan and the Rt Revd Humphrey Peters, Bishop of Peshawar

Dear Bishop Samuel, dear Bishop Humphrey

I am writing to assure you of my prayers, and those of the Anglican Church of Southern Africa for you and for the people of Pakistan who are affected by the terrible floods. None of us who see pictures of the devastation on our television screens and in our newspapers can fail to be deeply touched by the scale of the human tragedy that is unfolding, particularly in the region of Peshawar. Our hearts go out to you, and to all who are affected, and we especially remember those who have died and hold the bereaved and injured in our thoughts and prayers.

We ask that you will receive God's comfort and strength at this testing time, along with whatever tangible support you need. Through his inexhaustible grace, may you also find yourselves effective channels of the good news of his redemptive hope for the communities around you. My Province will do what we can to support your emergency relief and rescue programme, and I am urging people to make donations through our own disaster fund.

May Jesus Christ, who shared in the trials of our humanity so we might share in the glories of his resurrection, surround you all with the knowledge of his life-giving presence,

Yours in the service of Christ

+Thabo Cape Town

Detail for donations:

Account name: CPSA Disaster Relief Fund

Bank: Standard Bank of SA Ltd

Branch: Cape Town

Branch IBT Code: 02 0009

Account number: 07 007 8394