Anglican Archbishop of Cape Town Thabo Makgoba said South Africa’s politicians need to forget their personal political ambitions and focus on fixing the country’s problems.
“In South Africa… we hear too little of sacrificial service from our nation’s leaders and too much of using political influence to secure personal and family advancement,” he said.
“South Africans need to see their government focused on fixing the real problems of the country – joblessness and load-shedding among them – and not on internal party disputes.”
Makgoba said these words during his midnight mass at St Georges Anglican Church in Cape Town on Sunday.
Watch: Anglican Archbishop of Cape Town Thabo Makgoba’s Christmas message
Russia’s invasion of Ukraine
The Archbishop also criticised the South African government for its failure to condemn Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Makgoba visited Ukraine last week and said he witnessed the pain and suffering that the war has caused.
Citing a recent poll, Makgoba said most South Africans “believe Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is an act of aggression that must be condemned”.
“We should ask if our leaders are in touch with our people over Ukraine,” he added.
“If we want to resist authoritarianism, we have to resist its practice everywhere.”
South Africa abstained from voting on the Russia-Ukraine conflict at the UN General Assembly earlier this year, where a resolution that demanded Russia to immediately withdraw from Ukraine was adopted.
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Diplomatic spat between SA and US
News24 reported earlier this week that a diplomatic spat was developing between South Africa and the United States (US) after a Russian ship was docked at Simon’s Town in the Western Cape.
The ship, Lady R, is sanctioned by the US over Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
The US Embassy reportedly issued a diplomatic notice to the South African government over the ship.
Defence Minister Thandi Modise, however, responded by criticising the US for its lack of support for African countries.
“America threatens the rest of Africa – not just SA – of having anything that is even smelling of Russia,” said Modise.
In reply, US Ambassador to South Africa Reuben Brigety said Modise’s remarks were “irresponsible”.
“We are trying very hard to be respectful of the sovereignty of the government of South Africa. [However, Modise’s] remarks are inaccurate, they are irresponsible, and they are inexcusable.
“It is factually inaccurate to claim that the US government threatens Africa and threatens South Africa with anything to do with regards to Russia,” he said.