“We cry (over) looting in South Africa, repressions in Zimbabwe”: South African Prelate

Bishop Victor Phalana of South Africa’s Klerksdorp Diocese.
Credit: Public Domain

A Catholic Bishop in South Africa has, in a Facebook post, decried looting of public resources in South Africa and abuse of office through “repressions” in neighboring Zimbabwe, cautioning that the situation is “becoming worse and worse.”

In the August 5 Facebook post seen by ACI Africa, Bishop Victor Phalana draws parallels between the conduct of the leadership of South Africa’s ruling party, the African National Congress (ANC) under President Cyril Ramaphosa, and that of Zimbabwe’s ruling party, Zimbabwe African National Union – Patriotic Front (ZANU–PF) under President Emmerson Mnangagwa.

“We cry (over) the looting in South Africa and repressions in Zimbabwe,” the Bishop has posted.

He adds referencing the immediate former President, Jacob Zuma who resigned amid corruption allegations in  February 2018, “One day South Africans came together: Cívic Associations, Religious Groups, the youth, the unemployed, all races, etc; we wanted to end the reign of terror and the culture of corruption by the Zuma regime.”

Bishop Phalana further expresses his disappointment with ANC’s leadership that promised a new dawn in the country characterized by “immediate arrests and prosecutions” of corruption suspects saying, “None of that has happened, none of that is happening. It is becoming worse and worse.”

According to the Local Ordinary of South Africa’s Klerksdorp Diocese who doubles as Chairman of the Justice and Peace Commission of the Southern African Catholic Bishops’ Conference (SACBC), the leadership of ANC acts with impunity, “with no accountability and transparency.”

He adds in reference to ANC officials, “They continue the Zuma style of ignoring the Auditor General, the Public Protector, the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) and other Chapter 9 Institutions.”

South Africa’s President Ramaphosa who took office after the resignation of President Zuma has come under heavy criticism over allegations of corruption in his government, the latest being the alleged misappropriation of the country’s COVID-19 relief fund.

ANC leaders have no reason to reform and to go back to the values advocated for by anti-apartheid activists since “all they are determined to do, is to loot, steal, rob and then resign,” Bishop Phalana bemoans.

The looting and eventual resignation of the ANC leaders, the 59-year-old South African Prelate says, “is their new habit. They loot and gather around themselves lunatics and fanatics to protect them and to speak on their behalf.”

Those the corrupt leaders have used to “crush their critics” are “journalists, lawyers, celebrities, intelligence officers, rogue members of the police service, business people, pastors and political analysts,” Bishop Phalana says.

“These fanatics are vicious. They enjoy the crumbs from the loot and are ready to kill if you try to stand up for justice and truth,” Bishop Phalana further says in his August 5 Facebook post and continues, “This is exactly what is going on in Zimbabwe.”

He clarifies, “The only difference is that Zimbabwean leaders do not only use private fans, rogue units and fanatics; they also use police and soldiers to crush their people and opponents.”

“ZANU PF and the ANC want to eat – and then leave the left-overs for their relatives and friends only. There is nothing left for you and me,” the Prelate bemoans, drawing similarities between the ruling parties in South Africa and neighboring Zimbabwe.

Zimbabwe’s President Mnangagwa took office following the 2017 resignation of the late Robert Mugabe. His leadership has been marred by allegations of widespread state corruption and economic crisis.

“Things have to change,” Bishop Phalana says and adds, “Unfortunately the opposition parties in both countries, have a lot to do, to convince us that they can do better.”

He recommends imprisonment for the corrupt leaders and their accomplices saying, “We want them to go in hundreds if not thousands. Unless that happens, the next elections will not go well for the ruling party: on local, provincial and national levels. Our eyes are open. We will not listen to their speeches and press briefings.”

“Zimbabwe will not have it easy. While we fight the corruption in South Africa, we will also fight the repression and the brutality in Zimbabwe, which is worse than the Rhodesia of Ian Smith,” the Bishop says.

The brutality and repression, he further says, “is done by Mnangagwa (President) who took refuge in South Africa and promised a new tenure for his people.”

“We must ensure that he and his officials do not attend SADC meetings until he begins to treat his people with respect,” Bishop Phalana says in reference to President Mnangagwa.

ACI Africa was officially inaugurated on August 17, 2019 as a continental Catholic news agency at the service of the Church in Africa. Headquartered in Kenya’s capital, Nairobi, this media apostolate will strive to facilitate the telling of Africa’s story by providing media coverage of Catholic events on the African continent, giving visibility to the activities of the Church across Africa where statistics show significant growth in numbers and the continent gradually becoming the axis of Catholicism. This is expected to contribute to an awareness of and appreciation for the significant role of the Church in Africa and over time, the realization of a realistic image of Africa that often receives negative media framing.

Father Don Bosco Onyalla
Editor-in-Chief, ACI Africa
[email protected]