Next Wednesday I will stand with Pravin Gordhan at the court room where he faces criminal charges brought against him by the National Prosecuting Authority. I will stand with the Finance Minister in the spirit of Oliver Tambo, Nelson Mandela, Hector Pieterson and the millions of brave South Africans that have fought so hard to forge this wondrous country out of the cauldron of our tragic past. I will stand for democracy and leadership of service. I will stand for justice. But most of all – I will stand for a nation that recognises, supports and nurtures all of its people.
South Africa is at a crossroads and we have to choose the kind of future we want. Will it be one of state capture and mass corruption or will it be one of honesty, integrity and compassion? A titanic battle is raging in our country between forces of good and evil. On the one hand there are those who seek to plunder the financial resources of our sovereign state for their own commercial benefit. They stop at nothing – even controlling the appointment of cabinet ministers for the sake of personal financial enrichment. On the other hand, there are those who have stood firm on principles of ethics and decency necessary to maintain the integrity and the sovereignty of the government of South Africa whose resources can and must only be deployed for the benefit of all its citizens and not for the enrichment of a few powerful individuals. The very control of state power and resources is at stake in the struggle between these forces.
And on the frontlines of this battle is Pravin Gordhan, who heroically, together with his deputy, Mcebisi Jonas, have defended the independence of integrity of the treasury from those who seek to plunder it. The actions taken against Gordhan are transparent. The legal case is so flimsy, that the frightening truth is there for all to see – state security apparatus is being used against a cabinet minister who stands in the way of those who seek to capture the treasury of the state.
How can we remain on the side-lines when such injustices are being perpetrated in the name of our government? “Justice, justice you shall pursue”, says the Bible. Justice cannot be attained passively. We must actively pursue it. The very future of our country is being fought for. How can we remain silent at such a time? “Thus says G-d: Do justice and righteousness, and save the robbed from the hands of the oppressor … and do not spill innocent blood in this place.” (Jeremiah 22:3).
And into this battle we go armed with the awesome force of freedom. The great gift of the new South Africa is the gift of freedom. We live in a truly free country where all people have the right to express their opinions without fear of favour. We have the complete freedom of expression, of association and movement. It is inspiring to see how South Africans have used their freedoms to defend the forces of goodness and integrity. As always, our free press and independent courts have been at the forefront of holding accountable those who exercise power.
And so I, together with other religious, business and political leaders – and South Africans from all walks of life – will stand in support of Pravin Gordhan at the court house on the 2nd of November. Let us all come to the court and stand with him on that day. Let us send a message to the forces of corruption that we will tolerate their brazen thievery no longer. In the sacred memory of Oliver Tambo, Steve Biko, Nelson Mandela and all the other countless brave freedom fighters – we will not allow the sovereignty and integrity of South Africa’s democracy, that was their life’s work, to disolve at the hands of a corrupt few.
Yet again South Africans are involved in a great struggle – the struggle against the injustice and immorality of corruption. Corruption threatens the existence of a free, democratic South Africa. It harms all of her people, but especially the most vulnerable. When state resources are diverted from their true purpose of uplifting and supporting those who are most in need, untold human suffering results. The very sovereignty and existence of our democratically elected government is threatened by those who would take away the power from the people and give it to a few individuals for their personal enrichment.
This is the struggle of our times and it is a struggle in which, with G-d’s help, we will be victorious as we were victorious against the evil forces of apartheid. Come stand with me.
May G-d bless South Africa.