The South African Council of Churches (SACC) led a delegation to meet with officials of African National Congress (ANC) in their call for societal action against COVID-19 corruption on 24 August. Together with the Ahmed Kathrada Foundation, the Desmond & Leah Tutu Legacy Foundation, the Nelson Mandela Foundation, the Foundation for Human Rights and the Council for the Advancement of South African Constitution (CASAC), they called on the ANC and all political parties to enter into a covenant based on a public commitment to accountability, responsiveness and openness.

Years of state capture, unethical governance, and recently, large-scale looting of Covid-19 emergency funding, had compelled them to take a stand against “moral depravity of some in positions of authority that undermine the very notion of nationhood and the underlying value of public service”, according to a statement.

SACC officially launched its anti-corruption campaign with an online midday service of lament and protest on 30 August, where leaders of its membership of churches delivered messages and prayed together. Subsequently, the SACC and its partner organisations will work with academics and legal experts to mobilise a comprehensive societal response against corruption. This includes the reopening of an “Unburdening Panel” for whistle-blowers and public servants to report corruption, as well as a national call for the public to demonstrate their outrage at not only the looting, but also the lack of consequences for it.

“We refuse for corruption to define who we are and our heritage… therefore we want to stand up against those who are corrupt to the point of stealing money that provides essential service to people who are dying,” said Church and Community Liaison Director of the Council of Churches, Rev Mzwandile Molo.