Church Leaders in South Africa Explain Their “silence” Over Allegations against President

President Cyril Ramaphosa. Credit:

Christian leaders under the auspices of the South African Council of Churches (SACC) have reacted to complaints about their silence over allegations of crime and misconduct against President Cyril Ramaphosa.

In a Tuesday, June 7 statement, officials of SACC, and entity that includes representatives of the Southern African Catholic Bishops’ Conference (SACBC) react to accusations of silence leveled against them by the President and Commander in Chief (CIC) of  Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF), Julius Sello Malema

SACC, they say, “will not be rushed into a public statement, and will only act and speak out on the revelations and allegations leveled against from a position of greater knowledge and a deeper understanding.”

“We are required to know all that we can know about an emerging situation in order to apply our judgment tools to inform our actions, before we act or speak out,” SACC officials say.

In a Tuesday, June 7 press conference, the CIC of EFF lamented the silence of SACC members over kidnapping and bribery allegations, which former spy chief, Arthur Fraser, made against President Ramaphosa, and registered with the police in South Africa.


EFF is a radical and militant economic emancipation movement, formed in the year 2013 with the aim of bringing together revolutionary, militant activists, community-based organizations as well as lobby groups under the umbrella of the political party pursuing the struggle of economic emancipation.

In the press conference, Mr. Malema grouped church leaders among “elders and leaders of the church who pretend that they are the moral compass of South Africa yet are quiet when Cyril Ramaphosa is implicated in abductions, kidnapping, torture, money laundering and bribery.”

Mr. Malema called on church leaders to denounce the ills that have been allegedly committed by South Africa’s head of state. 

In the statement signed by the General Secretary of the SACC, Bishop Malusi Mpumlwana of the Ethiopian Episcopal church, the church leaders say their current reaction of silence is similar to previous allegations against EFF leaders over the 2021 VBS Mutual Bank scandal

“The SACC never said a word in the public arena about Julius Malema and other EFF leaders, when allegations were made accusing them of VBS looting,” SACC officials say in the June 7 statement.

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They add, “Without a doubt, the Ramaphosa revelations and allegations are seriously concerning, and while it may appear that the SACC remains silent on the issue, and has not issued a comment at the speed and to the level of outrage expected by the EFF, one must contextualize the matter.” 

“In comparison, with President Jacob Zuma the SACC engaged with him and the ANC for two years: April 2014-April 2016, before making any public statement about him because it is not in the nature of SACC operations to rush into public statements about serious public matters without critical review and analysis,” representatives of church leaders in South Africa explain.

During the June 7 press conference, the leadership of EFF played some videos depicting some church leaders condemning social vices in the society in the past and challenged the current leaders to do the same.

They accused the current church leaders of being silent because “their puppet has committed crimes which violate domestic and international laws.”

The leadership of EFF highlighted some other misdeeds allegedly committed by the incumbent president and urged him to step down from office and pave the way for investigations into what he is accused of.


“Fellow South Africans, we gave Cyril Ramaphosa a chance to prove himself, he has dismally failed. We will treat him the same way we have treated Zuma. He must leave the office with immediate effect because he has not respected his oath of office." Mr. Malema said during the June 7 press conference.

Media reports in South Africa have indicated that the 69-years-old president has been weakened by allegations “that he was complicit in buying the silence of burglars who stumbled on large sums of money at one of his properties.”

Silas Mwale Isenjia is a Kenyan journalist with a great zeal and interest for Catholic Church related communication. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Linguistics, Media and Communication from Moi University in Kenya. Silas has vast experience in the Media production industry. He currently works as a Journalist for ACI Africa.