A letter to congregations regarding corruption
"Do all things without grumbling or disputing, that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world." - Philippians 2:14,15
1. Local congregations and corruption
Recently, especially after corruption was exposed during the time of COVID-19, a wave of anger and frustration regarding corruption has erupted. The question is what are we going to do other than having heated discussions? The Centre for Public Witness is currently involved in various forums where the issue is being addressed. We are also working closely with institutions such as Huguenot College (Centre for Good Governance in Africa) to ensure that our strategy is as grounded as possible. One of the things we have consensus on, is that corruption needs to be addressed at national, provincial and especially local level. This is especially true for the input we can provide at the local level, where we would like to pass on some guidelines. We hope this helps.
If there are any questions, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
2. As believers, we must begin with ourselves
A new commitment to character and integrity should be created now. We need to establish a herd immunity against corruption. To be corrupt usually requires two parties. Corrupt people should increasingly be isolated. We want to build communities with integrity. We do what we do as a calling before God. We pray AND we act.
3. We must be wary about corruption fatigue
People are literally so discouraged that they view corruption as the new normal and no longer believe that anything can be done. We must combat this view with concrete actions.
4. The Why question
We need to be able to explain to ourselves why we want to fight corruption. There are many reasons, but in essence for us as faith communities, it is about the society and people getting hurt. People are suffering physically because of corruption!
Religious leaders have a responsibility to the community to stand up. It is part of our calling.
Remember that the price we pay is not only caused by money that is "stolen", but also by inflated "legal" contracts for which there is excessive payment - also at the local level.
5. We must start with good data
What is the next step? Do we know what municipal budgets look like? Can we get someone to help us request these budgets and place them under close scrutiny? We are convinced that if we approach church members, and get experts involved, they will see the congregation with new eyes! Everything must be placed under the magnifying glass, including salaries, contracts and outputs.
We want to make things transparent and known in the public domain! It is necessary for local authorities to know that someone is watching them.
It is important to get the business sector, chamber of commerce, local media and/or social media involved, but perhaps also non-governmental organisations that are struggling to survive. Ministers should not be fighting this battle alone.
It's important that we do not just FIGHT, we must also build relationships with the local government. Unknown makes unloved. We can have a positive influence.
7. Pick up the phone!
And start talking. Contact us if you need help setting up something concrete in your area. As a centre, we are already working with the Western Cape Ecumenical Network, the WPRK and Huguenot College to establish a broader-based strategy.
Send an email to email@example.com or call Braam Hanekom on 083 302 8639.
8. Promote integrity to fight corruption
The Centre for Good Governance in Africa has already prepared the following:
WHY do we want to promote integrity and fight corruption? We believe that integrity creates dignity. We believe corruption kills and destroys.
HOW do we want to promote integrity and fight corruption? Integrity challenges corruption. Integrity is honesty accompanied by strong moral and ethical principles.
WHY do we want to promote integrity and fight corruption? Whereto with integrity? We want to create awareness of the existing reality, make choices and build trust.
AWARENESS of the value of integrity (honesty with strong moral and ethical values).
AWARENESS of the devastating results of corruption and toxic practices.
CHOICES are made based on this awareness.
TRUST is the result of better choices.
9. In conclusion
The Golden Circle begins with WHY and works from the inside out.
“People don’t buy what you do; they buy why you do it.” – Simon Sinek.
“Whoever has a why to live can bear almost any how.” – Nietzsche
Thuli Madonsela said: “I believe such leaders… live out uncompromisingly and with integrity their values, regardless of the persons, institutions and circumstances involved. They do the right things for the right reasons for the right outcomes.” Join the 'Integritas Movement’ and click here to read the prospectus.