At their recent virtual meeting the Quaker Community in Southern Africa was made aware of the following statement of the South African Council of Churches.
“The South African Council of Churches (SACC) is dismayed and perplexed by reports that Government intends to destroy recovered loot, including food products, in the face of massive poverty and want. The SACC appeals for a change of heart over this, and that recovered goods should be placed in the trust of reliable humanitarian non-profit organisations to distribute those goods recovered in good working order and which remain intact, in accordance with appropriate criteria of the needs across the country.
“In this regard the SACC has written to the Government with an urgent appeal to consider a humanitarian distribution process of recovered goods.
“We consider it unthinkable, and borders on obscenity, that even food can be consigned to destruction when we all know the extent of poverty and want in South Africa – the country with the highest levels of inequality in the world,” said Bishop Malusi Mpumlwana, General Secretary of the SACC. “We hope that, if the decision to destroy these goods has indeed been made, that it can and will be reversed,” he concluded.”
The Quaker Community in Southern Africa notes that in the spirit of James
2:14-26 the idea of faith without action is empty: Religion needs to be matched by action in the physical realm, as stated also in Micah 6:8. God is looking for men and women to do what is fair and compassionate to our neighbour.
We believe the Spirit is leading many churches in SA in this response.
The Quaker Community in Southern Africa endorses the intention of the SACC statement. Every peaceful and fair effort, by the law enforcement and other appropriate authorities, should be made to identify and return stolen goods to the original owners. Where this is not possible, we propose Gift of The Givers and The Red Cross as excellent organisations to receive these goods as soon as possible, to be distributed to those in most need as a matter of urgency. Community Chests, which are also good local bodies that support orphanages, early childhood centres, preschools and crèches, could also be excellent recipients for local distribution.
Sipho Nsimbi and Justin Ellis