Anglican head says S. African leaders have created era of sadness with corruption

(Photo: ACSA (Anglican Church of Southern Africa).)Civil society and church leaders in Cape Town protest against corruption in South Africa on September 30, 2015

Thousands of protestors backed by civil society and religious groups have gathered in three of South Africa's main cities to vent their anger at corruption they say has become pervasive in the nation.

"I want to address President Zuma and our national leaders, our provincial leaders, our local leaders and the business people who corrupt them:

"You are responsible for creating an historic era of sadness in South Africa. Worse, we have allowed you to do it," said South African Anglican leader Archbishop Thabo Makgoba.

"I remember that when I was younger, courage was the single most important ingredient in the success of the Old Struggle," said Makgoba, the Archbishop of Cape Town who was prominent in the struggled against apartheid.

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"Yet today those same leaders who showed such courage in the Old Struggle have not only abandoned the concept of courage, today they punish anyone who tries to uphold the principles of courage.

"Today we shouldn't be here rallying against corruption. Today we should be asking... Aren't we ready to fulfill our country's destiny, by showing the same level of courage that won our liberation from apartheid?"

More than 350 civic-rights groups, religious organisations and labour unions are backing the demonstrations in Pretoria, Cape Town and Durban, Bloomberg News reported.

"This is a peoples' march against corruption," Moira Campbell, a spokeswoman for Johannesburg-based Corruption Watch, an anti-graft unit established by the country's biggest labour federation, said by phone.

"It is a non-political event that is for anyone who feels the way we do about corruption."

Organisers of the anti-corruption marches said the government-appointed National Economic Development and Labour Council had sabotaged the protest by imposing conditions that postponed it, EWN reported.

"Down with corruption, down," said Moulana Abdul Khaliq Allie, deputy president of Muslim Judicial Council, speaking on behalf of Western Cape Religious forum, News 24 reported.

"I'm honoured to be here on behalf of the religious council. As religious leaders we are not just the praying priests, we are an integral part of our society.

"Today we must come together and we must stand together. There is no difference between Muslim, Christian or Jew.

"Are we united?" he asked the crowd to shouts of "yes!"

The latest corruption scandal arose on September 28.

Then the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission said Hitachi had agreed to pay $19 million to settle charges that it inaccurately reported "improper payments" channelled to South Africa's ruling African National Congress, to help it win contracts from state power utility Eskom, Bloomberg reported.

The ANC denied any wrongdoing.

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