Coronavirus Pandemic

Click HERE for the latest COVID-19 news and statistics on our website. 

Press Release: Latest information on coronavirus by
Dr Zwelini Mkhize (Minister of Health)

9 Aug 2020

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26 March 2020 

Nioma Venter (Diaconia) and Braam Hanekom (Center for Public Witness) presented 25 pastors in Khayelitsha with PnP food vouchers before the #LockDown commences. Some of the gift certificates were also distributed in Delft last night.

23 March 2020: A call from civic and community structures in South Africa

Civic organisations, trade unions, organisations of informal workers and community structures in South Africa, call on all people, every stakeholder and sector, to contain infection, reduce transmission and mitigate the social and political impacts of the COVID-19 virus.

Read the full Programme of Action by clicking on this PDF:


For the past two days, the Center for Public Witness met with a group of ministers to talk intensely about community facilitation and the healing and empowering of our communities. In the midst of a global crisis, it is now more important than ever.

Topics discussed are as follows:


  • the process of community facilitation 

  • conflict management and diversity 

  • the restoration of dignity, respect and trust 

  • intervention points 

  • communication, schools and skills development 

  • shared calling and values 

  • the courage to do so 

  • the calling to do so 

  • the possibilities and energy that create such a process

For more information, please contact the office: | 021 957 7202

Western Cape Ecumenical Network













The WCEN met on Wednesday evening, 11 March 2020, to discuss the challenges being faced in the communities of Atlantis, Delft, Vrygrond, Manenberg and Beacon Valley. The importance of inclusivity and social cohesion within communities in South Africa was discussed extensively. This discussion was led by a diverse panel of experts: Quinton Adams, educational psychologist and founder of The Shackbuilder, Braam Hanekom, director of the Centre for Public Witness, and Bonga Mbenenge, minister of the Uniting Reformed Church of Southern Africa (URCSA). 

The panel declared that all hope is not lost for South Africa and emphasized that the role of the Church regarding social cohesion should not be overlooked. The Church has the capacity to influence positive change within society. However, if communities are unwilling to work towards a common goal, this may prove to be a daunting task. Thus, the panel urges South Africans to stop waiting for the government of other influential individuals to bring about change. They want to encourage the nation to take action themselves by constantly doing small, yet great things for others. 

From left: Nelis Janse van Rensburg, Aaron Makili, Bonga Mbenenge, Braam Hanekom, Quinton Adams, Annie Kirke

From left: Bonga Mbenenge, Braam Hanekom, Quinton Adams


The murder of Tazne Van Wyk is another tragedy that has rocked the communities of the Western Cape and South Africa at a time when the communities are still reeling from the on going gang violence, gender-based violence and child abuse in our townships.


Tazne was a baptised member of Goodwood congregation in Elsies River, and actively involved in Sunday School and the church Brigade.


The Moderamen expresses its heartfelt condolences to the Van Wyk and Manual families. We also express our heartfelt sadness to the school community and local community where she lived. The mourning is aptly expressed in the passage of scripture found in Mathews 2:18 that is a direct quote from Jeremia 31:15.


Matthew 2:18 New International Version (NIV)

“A voice is heard in Ramah,

   weeping and great mourning,

Rachel weeping for her children

   and refusing to be comforted,

   because they are no more.” [a]


We note with conviction that:

Children must be protected. The Bill of Rights Section 28 in our constitution states that every child has the right to basic nutrition, shelter, health care and social services as well as the right to be protected from maltreatment,  neglect, abuse or degradation. The child has a right to family care or parental care. The gross atrocities committed against Tazne must be brought to book and all violations must be corrected through the rule of law. We respect this processes and encourage the state to ensure that true justice is speedily delivered in honour of our daughter but also to show to our communities that justice can prevail and we can trust in the rule of law to uphold the rights of the downtrodden and the weak.


It is also in this time of mourning and deep grief that the faith community wishes to extend a hand of comfort and reassure the families. God embraced Tazne at birth and baptism and said to her "You belong to me" and when her life ended God took her fully into his arms and made her his own for all eternity.  


Romans 8:31-39  (NIV) states that we are more than conquerors "37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38 For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons,[b] neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord."


Lets us walk with the family.

Let us walk with the school.

Let us walk as a community.

Let us continue to seek justice.

Let us recommit ourselves to build and establish communities of peace and security.

Let us maintain and hold onto the rule of Law.

Let us hold onto our faith.


Let God’s grace be exceedingly experienced in this time.


Rev Dr Llewellyn LM MacMaster

Uniting Reformed Church in Southern Africa (URCSA)

Moderator: Cape Regional Synod

Minister: SA Gestig (Belhar) congregation

Office: +27 21 9522151

Cell: +27 83 413 0400


18 February 2020 - Green Market Square

"SACC calls on De Klerk Foundation to retract and apologise"

15 February 2020 - Bishop Malusi Mpumlwana

The statement issued by the De Klerk Foundation on Friday – the Day of Celebrating Love – amplifying FW de Klerk’s position that apartheid was not a crime against humanity, but a Soviet propaganda ploy, cannot go unchallenged by the South African Council of Churches (SACC).  Apartheid was not only a crime, it was more than that; it was a gross sin against the image of God in the humanity of black South Africans, generally called non-whites, who were legally treated as sub-human, and without the basic rights due to normal human beings.

Apartheid made all South African whites and their future generations its beneficiaries in superabundance.

Even so, the victims of apartheid accepted a magnanimous approach that does not pursue retribution and wholesale racial blame. 

But for the De Klerk Foundation, representing as it does the last leader of that apartheid regime, to tell us in blind acquiescence to its patron De Klerk, that apartheid was no crime against humanity but a Soviet propaganda ploy, is an insult to the millions of South Africans who suffered apartheid, and a slap in the face of those who seek justice, peace and universal progress for all. In fact the position of both De Klerk and his Foundation must be at odds with the spirit of the Nobel Peace Prize of which De Klerk is a recipient. 

If the De Klerk Foundation suggests that the international categorisation of apartheid as a crime against humanity was a false propaganda by the Soviet Union, then it means that the De Klerk Foundation is saying the SACC that campaigned under God to humanise South Africa against apartheid, was a Soviet propaganda pawn. It suggests that the apartheid government’s charges through the Schlebusch and Eloff Commissions, that the work of Dr Beyers Naude’s Christian Institute and the Archbishop Desmond Tutu’s South African Council of Churches for social justice and national reconciliation against apartheid was not Christian work. 

Their position would justify the 1988 bombing of both the SACC’s Khotso House and Khanya House of the Catholic Bishops Conference. 

It justifies the banning and banishment of the more than 2000 citizens of all races between 1950 and 1990 through the provisions of the wholly unjust Suppression of Communism Act; the detentions without trial for torture, often in extremity, resulting as it often did, in brain damage and death, such as was suffered by Biko, shackled, naked and stripped of all dignity – indeed reminiscent of the very death of Christ, naked and stripped of his dignity, for the sake of the truth.

Think of the others murdered by the brutal apartheid security system – Ahmed Timol, Neil Aggett, Onkgopotse Tiro, Steve Biko, Griffiths and Victoria Mxenge, Mapetla Mohapi and countless others. Let them ask the maimed like Judge Albie Sachs, and Father Michael Lapsley.  And the De Klerk Foundation has the temerity to say this was not a crime against humanity.

Are they naive, blind, or simply malicious and just unable to fathom the grave impact of apartheid, just because we don’t make big of it today? 

Lest we forget, between 1960 and 1983, the apartheid government forcibly removed some 3.5 million black South Africans in what has been described as “one of the largest mass removals of people in modern history”. If this is not a crime against humanity, then either the De Klerk Foundation is suggesting that it is no crime to forcibly remove helpless people under the barrel of a gun, the threat of vicious dogs, and the might of bulldozers, from the homes where they had invested all they could; or maybe the De Klerk Foundation is suggesting that these people were no human beings, for how else could this be no crime against humanity?

If anybody doubts that apartheid was a crime against humanity, read Father Cosmos Desmond’s The Discarded People; and take time to watch the non-Soviet documentary Last Grave at Dimbaza. Let them raise Bishop David Russell from his grave and ask him for the cause of his extended fast on the steps of St George’s Cathedral in Cape Town. Let them ask the people of District Six who were uprooted 54 years ago almost to the day, and of Sophiatown whose settled homes and thriving businesses were broken up by apartheid, which sadistically renamed Sophiatown Triomf – the triumph of a moral crime! Think of other sites of discarded people – Limehill, Kuruman, Morsgat, Itsoseng, Stinkwater, Sada, Linge, and many more!

Ask any loving mixed race couples who had to marry secretly and live in fear all their lives, for themselves and their children. 

Let them ask families broken up through arbitrary race classification of the pencil in the hair, some declared white and others in the same home coloured and thus broken apart. Let them ask us, who lived all our young lives on the run from the police on account of the pass laws through which you could be declared a vagrant, an idle Bantu, an outlaw, or poll tax delinquent – itself a race-based politically oppressive tax.

Look at the continued effects of apartheid on the supposedly free South Africa: look at the lot of its victims in the townships and the squalor of the squatter camps!

Look at the parlous state of black education; the long-term result of the erstwhile architect of apartheid Hendrick Verwoerd who said: “There is no place for (blacks) in the European community above the level of certain forms of labour.” For the majority of South African victims of the Verwoerdian doctrine of apartheid, his philosophy and policy still resonates with the reality of their current living, despite the strides achieved in the era of constitutional democracy. 

For the express education of the De Klerk Foundation and others of like thinking, “the crime of apartheid” is mentioned as such in Section 7 (1) (j) of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court which describes Crimes Against Humanity. 

And it further explains in Section 7 (2) (h) as follows: 

“The crime of apartheid” means inhumane acts of a character similar to those...”, such as, inter alia:

- Murder; 

- Deportation or forcible transfer of population; 

- Imprisonment or other severe deprivation of physical liberty in violation of fundamental rules of international law; 

- Torture; 

- Persecution against any identifiable group or collectivity on political, racial, national, ethnic, cultural, religious, gender... grounds that are universally recognized as impermissible under international law.

Such acts, the Statute continues, “committed in the context of an institutionalized regime of systematic oppression and domination by one racial group over any other racial group or groups and committed with the intention of maintaining that regime”, constitute crimes against humanity. 

The very so-called black on black conflict that the De Klerk Foundation quotes to exculpate the apartheid regime, was the direct result and the logical outcome of apartheid policies, application and machinations.

It is hard to believe that the De Klerk Foundation is ignorant of all this! We pray for God’s grace to help open their eyes to the effect of their blindness in their interpretation of apartheid. And we appeal to them, for the sake of nation building, to retract their position on this and apologise for the hurt that it causes the majority of South Africans who bore the brunt of the apartheid system.

While they have their right to freedom of opinion and speech, they must also accept that this position alienates them from the South African Agenda for Healing, Reconciliation and Social Cohesion. We appeal to all organised bodies of South Africans to repudiate the De Klerk Foundation’s position on apartheid.


We request South Africans to identify with the rallying cry that says “Apartheid was a Crime; One South Africa One Nation!”

18 MARCH 2020

The Hope and Reconciliation Trust is hosting a workshop. More details are shown below. Please register before 13 March 2020.

13 FEBRUARY 2020

Dr Braam Hanekom and Dr Coenie Burger hosted the following workshop. 

Sentrum vir Publieke Getuienis | Tel. 021 957 7202  I  Fax: 086 531 9287  I | Bellville, Cape Town

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