The South African Council of Churches (SACC) national church leaders stood in silent prayer to declare that “corruption is not our heritage” in all its provinces on 15 September, as part of a nation-wide campaign against COVID-19 corruption.

Calling it a “performance of silence”, SACC General Secretary Bishop Malusi Mpumlwana said in a media statement that it was because “the churches are speechless at this level of revolting fraud.”

The leaders stood for an hour carrying anti-corruption messages on placards with the hashtag #CorruptionIsNotMyHeritage in front of various key national and provincial locations, including the Union Buildings where the SACC General Secretary led the performance.

“As the SACC we have dedicated this Heritage month to a campaign that will denounce corruption as being part of the South African identity. We are saying as the churches, and active citizens, that we refuse for our nation’s culture and heritage to be one of stealing, and defrauding of public resources. Corruption, especially this blatant looting of COVID-19 funds that has been reported, is criminal and continues to cost us lives and livelihoods as a country,” said Bishop Mpumlwana.

The Uniting Presbyterian Church in Southern Africa (UPCSA) also released a statement in support of initiatives and campaigns against corruption, imploring all in the UPCSA to stay away from corruption and to report any form of corruption to the relevant authorities.

Denouncing the scourge of corruption and how it disproportionately affects the poor, especially women and children, UPCSA General Secretary Rev Lungile Mpetsheni encouraged churches to factor this into their liturgies and put up posters as churches re-open for public worship.

The wearing of orange masks on Fridays is a campaign to ensure that all those who are found guilty should be granted the opportunity to wear orange overalls in prison, added Rev Mpetsheni.