South African Catholic Bishop Advocates for Rural Investment, Multiple “economic agents”

Bishop Sithembele Sipuka of Mthatha Diocese in South Africa. Credit: SACBC

The Catholic Bishop of Mthatha Diocese in South Africa has urged the leaders in the country to invest in rural areas, facilitating the establishment of industries there.

In a Thursday, April 27 statement on the occasion of South Africa’s 29th Freedom Day  anniversary, Bishop Sithembele Sipuka advocated for realization of multiple “economic agents” in the country.

“Leaders must be imaginative and bold to facilitate the creation of industries or sectors in rural areas where the concentration of the human capital of this country is found,” the South African Catholic Bishop says in the statement that was shared with ACI Africa.

He adds “What needs to be done is to create conditions for all people of this country to be economic agents that generate wealth instead of being beneficiaries of grants from the income tax of few people”

Bishop Sipuka says that creating employment for the people will free them from “the patronage of politicians”.


The 63-year-old Catholic Bishop advocates for “beefing up education” in South Africa, arguing that such a move would contribute to effective decentralization of the country’s economic activity and inclusion of many more people in wealth creation.

Beefing-up education, he says, “must include a system of educating children according to their ability instead of forcing all children into a high school system and setting up more than half of them for failure.”

Bishop Sipuka goes on to say that beefing up education can go a long way in helping address lawlessness in South Africa, which he says is manifested in bullying and Gender-based violence (GBV) and that it is becoming rampant in the country.

“Beefing up education must therefore include educating children and parents about the Constitution, ensuring that people understand that freedom does not mean that one can do what one likes and infringe on other people's freedom,” the Catholic Bishop who has been at the helm of Mthatha Diocese since his Episcopal Consecration in May 2008 says.

The Local Ordinary of Mthatha Diocese who doubles as the President of the Southern African Catholic Bishops’ Conference (SACBC) emphasizes the need to find solutions for societal evils that have enslaved South Africans over the years. 

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“If we correct the misdeeds of those in leadership, remove the conditions that make for corruption, decentralize the economy, and educate all citizens with skills and values, then the next decade of freedom will see us being better than we are as a country,” he says.

The Judicial Commission of Inquiry into Allegations of State Capture, Corruption and Fraud in the Public Sector including Organs of State (Zondo Commission) brought to the fore South Africa’s “misdeeds” and deeply embedded in corruption that affected the economy, Bishop Sipuka says in his April 27 statement that was shared with ACI Africa.

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.